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Interpretative Opinion 03-16: Conflict of Interest

August 27, 2003

John J. Mahoney, Esq.
Attorney at Law
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 1506 North
Washington, DC 20004

Re:  Potential Conflict of Interest

Dear Mr. Mahoney:

This responds to your request for an opinion concerning whether your simultaneous service as the Interim Chairman of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) and the Treasurer of the Brazil 2004 Committee poses a potential or actual conflict of interest.

Specifically, you state that you have served as a member of the DCSEC prior to your designation as Chairman and no conflict existed.

DC Official Code § 1-1106.01(b) (2001 Edition) states “[n]o public official shall use his or her official position or office to obtain financial gain for himself or herself, any member of his or her household or any business with which he or she or a member of his or her household is associated; other than compensation provided by law for said public official.”

DC Official Code § 1-1106.01(i) (2) defines the term “business with which he or she is associated “ as “any business of which the person or member of his or her household is director, officer, owner, employee, or holder of stock worth $1000 or more at fair market value, and any business which is a client of that person.”

DC Official Code § 1-1106.01 (c) states “[n]o person shall offer or give to a public official or member of a public official’s household, and no public official shall solicit or receive anything of value, including a gift, favor, service, loan gratuity, based on any understanding that such public official’s official actions or judgement or vote would be influenced thereby, or where it could reasonably be inferred that the thing of value would influence the public official in the discharge of his or her duties, or as a reward, except for political contributions publicly reported pursuant to DC Official Code § 1-1102.06 and transactions made in the ordinary course of business of the person offering or giving the thing of value.”

Thus, as Treasurer of the Brazil 2004 Committee, you are allowed to receive contributions on behalf of the Principal Campaign Committee and in accordance with DC Official Code § 1-1102.06 you are required to file Reports of Receipts and Expenditures with the Office of Campaign Finance.  Accordingly, there does not appear to be a conflict of interest between your duties as Interim Chairman of the DCSEC and Treasurer of the Brazil 2004 Committee. However, it is imperative that your dual roles are clearly discernible and at no time appear to merge.

Therefore, it is the opinion of the Office of Campaign Finance that no apparent conflict of interest exist between your position of Interim Chairman of the DCSEC and Treasurer of the Brazil 2004 Committee.