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Conflicts of Interest

The Legislative Ethics Law lists several situations involving a conflict of interest. These include situations in which a Legislator or a member of the Legislator’s immediate family has a unique and distinct interest in legislation, or accepts or engages in employment that could impair the Legislator’s judgment.  In some cases, a conflict can exist if the employer or client of a Legislator — or another person or organization in close economic association with the Legislator — has a direct financial interest in legislation.

A conflict of interest also arises when a Legislator or a member of the Legislator’s immediate family accepts a gift from persons affected by legislation and when the Legislator knows or reasonably should know that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the Legislator in the performance of the Legislator’s official duties.

When a Legislator has a conflict of interest, he or she has an affirmative duty not to vote on any question in connection with the conflict, and cannot attempt to influence the outcome of that question.

For more information concerning activities that qualify as a conflict of interest, please read § 1014(1) of the Legislative Ethics Law. The Ethics Commission and Office of the Maine Attorney General have issued advisory opinions on conflicts of interest, gifts, and undue influence.