Advisory Opinion 2012-8
A state senator who works for a public utility may communicate with Connecticut state agencies described in Connecticut General Statutes §1-84(d), if the communications constitute a routine requirement of the state senator's job and do not require any action by the §1-84(d) agencies. State Senator Kevin Witkos, a police officer and fire chief, decided to retire from his work as a police officer and received an offer to work as a regional coordination specialist, to assist with emergency preparedness, for Northeast Utilities. The new job involves communications with municipalities and state agencies to convey information about emergency preparedness policies, procedures and technologies. It does not involve appearances before state agencies in administrative matters that affect Northeast Utilities' legal rights, or lobbying or the promotion of Northeast Utilities' products. The job could involve the participation in meetings, emergency drills and conferences that include state officials. Witkos has already relinquished his position on the General Assembly's energy and technology committee. Witkos asked whether his new job will violate Connecticut codes of ethics. The Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board opined that acceptance of the job did not violate Connecticut General Statutes §1-84(b) or (c). As a salaried worker, responsible to help develop Northeast Utilities' emergency management plans, Witkos may "communicate with" the Connecticut state agencies that are described in C.G.S. §1-84(d). He is barred from "appearing" or "taking any other action" to assist Northeast Utilities in front of the state agencies that are described in §1-84(d). If there are no "actions," "decisions" or "judgments" of the Connecticut state agencies that can be "swayed" or "influenced," then there is nothing to "insulate" for purposes of C.G.S. §1-84(d). "[T]he petitioner," wrote the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board, "may communicate with §1-84(d) agencies on NU's behalf, provided that the following holds true: the communications (such as those specifically referenced in his petition) (1) are a routine requirement of his job at NU, (2) do not necessitate or seek any action by the §1-84(d) agencies, and (3) involve no matter at issue between those agencies and NU."