March 11, 2022 •
Ask the Experts – Hiring a Former Public Official
Question: Our company is in the process of hiring a former public official. Are there any issues we should be aware of during this process?
Answer: There are some jurisdictions with revolving door policies restricting what former officials or employees can do once they have entered the private sector. These restrictions are in place to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Many states require a cooling-off period when officials leave office and transition to the private sector. In South Carolina, a former public official is prohibited, for one year after terminating public service or employment, from serving as a lobbyist or representing clients before the agency or department on which the individual formerly served in a matter the individual directly and substantially participated during public service or employment. The restriction also prohibits a former public official from accepting employment if the employment is from a person who is regulated by the agency or department on which the individual served or was employed and involves a matter in which the individual directly and substantially participated during public service or public employment. A public official who participates directly in procurement may not resign and accept employment with a person contracting with the governmental body if the contract falls or would fall under the individual’s official responsibility.
New York law includes a similar restriction but requires a two-year cooling-off period. A former state officer or employee is prohibited, within two years after termination of employment, from appearing or practicing before such state agency or receiving compensation for any services rendered by such former officer or employee on behalf of any person, firm, corporation, or association in relation to any case, proceeding, or application or other matter before such agency. In New York, a former state officer or employee is prohibited, after the termination of employment, from appearing, practicing, communicating, or otherwise rendering services before any state agency or receive compensation for any such services rendered by such former officer or employee on behalf of any person, firm, corporation, or other entity in relation to any case, proceeding, application, or transaction with respect to which such person was directly concerned and in which the individual personally participated during the period of service or employment or which was under the individual’s active consideration.
These are just a few examples of revolving door restrictions. We advise you follow best practices to verify the rules in your jurisdiction.
Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Of course, we have always been available to answer from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or email us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies are not legal advice, just our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.