2015 ORS 244.040¹
Prohibited use of official position or office
  • exceptions
  • other prohibited actions

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a public official may not use or attempt to use official position or office to obtain financial gain or avoidance of financial detriment for the public official, a relative or member of the household of the public official, or any business with which the public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official is associated, if the financial gain or avoidance of financial detriment would not otherwise be available but for the public official’s holding of the official position or office.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

(a) Any part of an official compensation package as determined by the public body that the public official serves.

(b) The receipt by a public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official of an honorarium or any other item allowed under ORS 244.042 (Honoraria).

(c) Reimbursement of expenses.

(d) An unsolicited award for professional achievement.

(e) Gifts that do not exceed the limits specified in ORS 244.025 (Gift limit) received by a public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official from a source that could reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest.

(f) Gifts received by a public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official from a source that could not reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest.

(g) The receipt by a public official or a relative or member of the household of the public official of any item, regardless of value, that is expressly excluded from the definition of "gift" in ORS 244.020 (Definitions).

(h) Contributions made to a legal expense trust fund established under ORS 244.209 (Application to establish fund) for the benefit of the public official.

(3) A public official may not solicit or receive, either directly or indirectly, and a person may not offer or give to any public official any pledge or promise of future employment, based on any understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official would be influenced by the pledge or promise.

(4) A public official may not attempt to further or further the personal gain of the public official through the use of confidential information gained in the course of or by reason of holding position as a public official or activities of the public official.

(5) A person who has ceased to be a public official may not attempt to further or further the personal gain of any person through the use of confidential information gained in the course of or by reason of holding position as a public official or the activities of the person as a public official.

(6) A person may not attempt to represent or represent a client for a fee before the governing body of a public body of which the person is a member. This subsection does not apply to the person’s employer, business partner or other associate.

(7) The provisions of this section apply regardless of whether actual conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest are announced or disclosed under ORS 244.120 (Methods of handling conflicts). [1974 c.72 §3; 1975 c.543 §2; 1987 c.566 §9; 1989 c.340 §3; 1991 c.146 §1; 1991 c.770 §6; 1991 c.911 §4; 1993 c.743 §9; 2007 c.877 §17; 2009 c.68 §4]

Notes of Decisions

Prohibi­tion against public official using posi­tion for financial gain is not unconstitu­tionally vague because official uncertain whether con­duct is prohibited may obtain advisory opinion under ORS 244.280 (Commission advisory opinions). Groener v. Oregon Govern­ment Ethics Commission, 59 Or App 459, 651 P2d 736 (1982)

Law enjoining one not to "use" official posi­tion to obtain financial gain is not unconstitu­tionally vague. Davidson v. Oregon Govern­ment Ethics Commission, 300 Or 415, 712 P2d 87 (1985)

Where public official purchased automobile as "add on" to State Accident Insurance Fund purchase of fleet of cars and received discount not available to average buyer, official violated pro­hi­bi­­tion of this sec­tion against using public office for financial gain. Davidson v. Oregon Govern­ment Ethics Commission, 300 Or 415, 712 P2d 87 (1985)

In pro­hi­bi­­tion against public official using or at­tempting to use official office or posi­tion, phrase "would not otherwise be available" modifies "financial gain or avoidance of financial detri­ment." Buntyn v. Govern­ment Standards and Practices Commission, 186 Or App 351, 63 P3d 37 (2003)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Purchase of surplus state prop­erty by state employes as conflict of interest, (1977) Vol 38, p 1401; committee es­tab­lishing fund to defray expenses of elected official incurred in performing po­lit­i­cal func­tions of office, (1980) Vol 40, p 11; Applicability of Oregon Govern­ment Ethics Law to contractors that perform services for govern­ment, (1990) Vol 46, p 350

Law Review Cita­tions

44 WLR 399 (2007)

Chapter 244

Notes of Decisions

Statutory scheme of this chapter is not unconstitu­tionally vague. Davidson v. Oregon Govern­ment Ethics Commission, 300 Or 415, 712 P2d 87 (1985)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Simultaneous membership in church and local governing body as constituting potential conflict of interest, (1981) Vol 41, p 490; contractors that perform services for govern­ment as "public officials" subject to ethics law, (1990) Vol 46, p 350

Law Review Cita­tions

19 WLR 701 (1983)

  • Mail Tribune, Jun 30, 2010
    “The Oregon Republican Party, which apparently is unfamiliar with the novel idea of charging people to attend fundraisers, raised a ruckus, alleging that the event violates ORS 244.040. . . .”
  • Mail Tribune / Jack Duggan, Jun 27, 2010
    “The Oregon Republican Party's Greg Leo said a Democratic party fundraiser violates Oregon Revised Statute 244.040 "prohibiting public officials from seeking . . .”
  • Ashland Daily Tidings / John Darling, Jun 23, 2010
    “Oregon Republicans have accused state Democratic leaders, including Rep. Peter Buckley of Ashland, of an ethics viola­tion over a fundraising luncheon, a charge Buckley dismisses as "po­lit­i­cal games." . . .”

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 244—Government Ethics, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors244.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 244, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano244.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.