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Interpretative Opinion 02-10: Conflict of Interest

August 07, 2002

Matthew S. Watson, Administrative Judge
Contract Appeals Board
717-14th Street, NW
Suite 430
Washington, DC 20005

This responds to your request for an opinion concerning the appropriate course of action to take in the event of a protest relative to a possible contract award to a firm with which your son is associated. Specifically, you state that your son is employed as a Project Manager with ICF Consulting, Inc., which plans to respond to a Request for Qualification issued by the Office of Contracting and Procurement on behalf of the Office of Planning. You further state that your son will be listed among the key personnel to perform the contract. Additionally, you state that you have no responsibility or involvement in issuing the solicitation, nor any direct responsibility for issuing or administering the contract that may be awarded. Moreover, you represent that if a protest or an appeal is filed in this matter, or in any other matter involving the foregoing solicitation, or any other procurement involving ICF, you intend to recuse yourself from official participation.

DC Official Code § 1-1106.01 states, in relevant part, “[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,...“.

DC Official Code § 1-1106.01(g) provides, “[a]ny public official who, in the discharge of his or her official duties, would be required to take an action or make a decision that would affect directly or indirectly his or her financial interests or those of a member of his or her household, or a business with which he or she is associated, or must take an official action on a matter as to which he or she has a conflict situation created by a personal, family, or client interest, shall: (1) Prepare a written statement describing the matter requiring action or decision, and the nature of his or her potential conflict of interest with respect to such action or decision; (2) Cause copies of such statement to be delivered to the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics..., and to his or her immediate supervisor, if any;”

Based on the foregoing, you clearly understand the potential ramifications resulting from your participation in deliberations and/or decision-making concerning contracts with ICF, or any other organization in which you, any member of your immediate family, and/or a business with which either is associated, has an interest. Therefore, it is the opinion of this Office that recusal in this matter would be the most effective means of ensuring the integrity of the process as well as all parties involved.