Advisory Opinion 2012-9
"Necessary expenses" pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §1-84(k) may not be paid, or reimbursed, by an entity other than a sponsor of an event to which a public official or state employee has been invited. Brian J. O'Dowd, Assistant General Counsel at the Office of State Ethics, asked whether "necessary expenses" under C.G.S. §1-84(k) may be paid or reimbursed by an entity other than the sponsor of an event. The statute provides, "No public official, spouse of the Governor or state employee shall accept a fee or honorarium for an article, appearance or speech, or for participation at an event, in the public official's, spouse's or state employee's official capacity, provided a public official, Governor's spouse or state employee may receive payment or reimbursement for necessary expenses for any such activity in his or her official capacity." Public officials or state employees may no longer receive a fee or honorarium in return for active participation at an event in an official capacity and are restricted to the receipt of necessary expenses. "Necessary expenses" are defined as expenses for an article, appearance or speech or for participation at an event, in an official capacity. Necessary expenses are restricted to travel expenses, lodging for the nights before, of and after an event, meals and conference registration fees. Relying in part on earlier informal opinions, the Citizen's Ethics Advisory Board wrote, "[O]nly a sponsor of an event to which a public official or state employee is invited in his or her official capacity may pay or reimburse `necessary expenses' under §1-84(k)."