No public official shall use or attempt to use an official position to obtain financial gain or avoid financial detriment. [ORS 244.040(1)] Oregon’s ethics laws prohibit each public official from gaining a financial benefit or avoiding a financial cost as a result of his or her position. However, several specific benefits, such as compensation packages and reimbursed expenses, are allowed.
No public official shall solicit or receive any gift(s) with a total value of more than $50 from any single source who could reasonably be known to have a financial interest in the official actions of that public official. A gift is defined as something of value given to a public official, for which the official does not pay an equal value. Gifts of entertainment are included in the $50 gift limit.
This does not mean that an official cannot receive any gifts. The law only restricts gifts from sources that have an administrative or legislative interest in the public official’s actions, and does allow the public official to receive up to $50 worth of gifts from each source. In addition, unlimited gifts may be accepted from a source that does not have a legislative or administrative interest in the public official, and the public official may accept unlimited gifts from specified relatives.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict exists if a decision or recommendation could affect the finances of the public official or the finances of a relative. A few other situations can present a conflict of interest, as well. If a conflict of interest exists, the public official must always give notice of the conflict, and in some situations the public official is restricted in his ability to participate in the matter that presents the conflict of interest.