February 20, 2019 •
Arkansas Ethics Commission Clarifies Gift Exception in Advisory Opinion
The Arkansas Ethics Commission clarified a gift exception in Advisory Opinion No. 2019-EC-001.
A local lobbying firm wants to hold a 20th anniversary event and invite public officials. In turn, the firm requested more information regarding the exception permitting anything to be given to public officials if it is also readily available to the general public.
The commission stated the exception does not apply to an event where invitations are issued to friends, family members, clients, former clients, and business associates only.
In order for an event to be readily available to the general public, the general public would have to be made aware of the event’s existence.
For the event to qualify for the gift exception, an entity could make an announcement of the event on widely-used social media platforms and through traditional media, such as a state-wide newspaper, to make sure the general public knows the event is not limited to invitees.
Additionally, holding an event at a venue open to the public, like a park or convention center, would help meet the gift exception.
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