Legislature House of Representatives House Research State Government
Ethics/Conflicts of Interest
Certain executive branch officials must: (1) disclose potential conflicts of interest;
(2) disclose sources of income; and (3) refrain from accepting gifts from lobbyists.
The following executive branch officials (as well as legislators) are included in the definition of "public official"
under the ethical practices laws: constitutional officers; commissioners, deputy
commissioners, and assistant commissioners of state agencies; and members and
chief administrative officers of state boards.
Minn. Stat., sec. 10A.01.
Inclusion as a public official means that these people must take the following actions if they
would be required to take an action or make a decision that would substantially
affect their financial interest:
- give a written statement describing the potential conflict to the person's superior
- if possible, assign the matter to another employee who does not have a conflict
- if the matter cannot be reassigned and the public official cannot abstain from
the matter, the official must file a statement with the Campaign Finance and
Public Disclosure Board, describing the conflict and the action taken.
Minn. Stat., sec. 10A.07.
defined as a public official also must file an annual statement of economic
interest with the Ethical Practices Board. This statement lists sources of
income and certain investments held by the official.
Minn. Stat., sec. 10A.09.
A public official also is forbidden from accepting a gift from a lobbyist or from an
individual or association who hires a lobbyist. A gift includes, among other
things, any property, service or promise of future employment that is given
without the giver receiving consideration of equal or greater value.
Minn. Stat., sec. 10A.071.
State law provides a code of ethics for executive branch employees.
Among other things, the code:
- forbids employees from receiving gifts for activity related to employment;
- forbids employees from using confidential information to further the
employee's private interests;
- forbids use of state time or property for the employee's private interests, or
for any other use not in the interest of the state; and
- requires employees to attempt to avoid specified conflicts of interest.
Minn. Stat., sec. 43A.38.