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FAQ's and Definitions

What is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual might benefit personally from official or professional actions. It includes a conflict between a person's private interests and official responsibilities in a position of trust.

When do I have to disclose my financial interests?

You need to disclose your financial interest in a company if that company will enter into a contract with the College and you will benefit from that contract.

Which calendar year is the filing for?

Each year's filing covers the term of the preceding calendar year. This is also true for any employees who leave mid-year. (i.e. if an employee retires or leaves on June 30, they will need to file a statement to cover the time they were employed with the College.)

What do Securites include and exclude on Schedule C?

"Securities" INCLUDES stocks, bonds, mutual funds, limited partnerships, and commodity futures contracts.  "Securities" EXCLUDES certificates of deposit, money market funds, annuity contracts, and insurance policies.

Identify each business or Virginia governmental entity in which you or a member of your immediate family, directly or indirectly, separately or together, own securities valued in excess of $5,000. Name each issuer and type of security individually.

Do not list U.S. Bonds or other government securities not issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia or its authorities, agencies, or local governments. Do not list organizations that do not do business in this Commonwealth, but most major businesses conduct business in Virginia. Account for securities held in trust.

What guidance has the Office of the Attorney General given on the declaration of Securities?

The OAG published this guidance (pdf) in 1988.  If you have additional questions please contact Margaret Sacks, Conflict of Interests Director.  margaret.sacks@governor.virginia.gov

Do Roth IRA's need to be included on Schedule C - Securites?

No, they do not need to be included.

Do I need to report for training meetings where firms pay for transportation, lodging, and food?

Yes, compensations paid by entities other than the College should be reported on Schedule D.

What are personal liabilities?

Personal liabilities means money owed to a bank or one creditor for over $5,000. This debt includes such things as student loans, and credit cards. This does not include such things that can be taken away for non-payment, such as a car loan, a mortgage on your home. For example, your house or car can be repossessed if you do not pay, however, if you have student loans, your education cannot be taken away from you, and you are personally liable to pay on these loans.

What is the criteria used for determing which employees need to file?

The economic interest statement is required by state law, §2.2-3133 et seq., of all "persons occupying such offices or positions of trust or employment in state government....as may be designated by the Governor." The Governor, by executive order, has designated that all "presidents, vice presidents, provosts, deans, department cahirs, associate and assistant deans and any persons designated under Executive Branch Agencies, and those with approval authority over contracts and audits" to file. 

Additionally, any persons who have a substantial responsibility for any expenditure of funds or who direct or have substantial responsibility for any program or  "activity"  (such as admission dean) that could be subject to abuse or improper influence as a result of personal economic interest must file the statement. Finally, any persons with substantial responsibility for procurement, audit or investment must file the statement.

Other employees may be required to file the disclosure statement for reasons unrelated to the policy described above, thus adding to the confusion.  The code section set forth above is part of the Commonwealth's conflict of interest law. That law also covers cases of dual employment of spouses or other members of the immediate family who reside in the employee's household as well as an employee's personal economic interest (above a certain minimum level) in a contract between the College and any business in which the employee has that personal economic interest. In the latter instance, so long as certain procedures are followed, that "conflict of interest" may be lawful, but the employee will be required thereafter to file a disclosure statement.

Additional FAQ's from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Conflict of Interest web page.
When filling out the Statement of Economic Interests form, who do I consider my "immediate family"?

Immediate family means a spouse and any child who lives at home and is a dependent of the office holder, employee or board or commission appointee.

When completing Schedule B of the Statement of Economic Interests form, what do I consider my "personal liabilities"?

Personal liabilities means money owed to a bank or one creditor for over $5,000. This debt includes such things as student loans, and credit cards. You do not need to report debts owed to any government.

Personal liabilities does not include such things that can be taken away for non-payment, such as a car loan, a mortgage on your home. For example, your house or car can be repossessed if you do not pay, however, if you have student loans, your education cannot be taken away from you, and you are personally liable to pay on these loans.

When completing Schedule E of the Statement of Economic Interests form, what do I consider a "gift"?

All gifts over $50 must be reported. A gift is considered any gratuity, hospitality, entertainment (including meals, transportation, lodging) that was given to you by a business, government or individual other than a relative or close personal friend and for which you neither paid for nor provided services in exchange.

When completing Schedule G of the Statement of Economic Interests form, who do I consider a "close financial associate"?

A close financial associate includes any partner in a business, co-owner of a business or piece of land, or member of your immediate family. This does not include an individual who is receiving retirement benefits from a business or who may be representing a state governmental agency.

What is the penalty for failure to file a Statement of Economic Interests form or wrongly filing the form?

Any person who does not file or who knowingly files the Statement of Economic Interests form inaccurately will be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is punishable by no more than 12 months in jail and a fine of no more that $2,500. A local official who knowingly files the form inaccurately will be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of no more than $500. Any person who knowingly files the form inaccurately may also be dismissed from office or employment.

The following definitions are taken from the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (Code of Virginia, Section §2.2-3101):

"Contract" means any agreement to which a governmental agency is a party, or any agreement on behalf of a governmental agency that involves the payment of money appropriated by the General Assembly or political subdivision, whether or not such agreement is executed in the name of the Commonwealth, or some political subdivision thereof. "Contract" includes a subcontract only when the contract of which it is a part is with the officer's or employee's own governmental agency.

Immediate family" means (i) a spouse and (ii) any child who resides in the same household as the officer or employee and who is a dependent of the officer or employee. (UPDATED 11/2014)

"Personal interest" means a financial benefit or liability accruing to an officer or employee or to a member of his immediate family. Such interest shall exist by reason of (i) ownership in a business if the ownership interest exceeds three percent of the total equity of the business; (ii) annual income that exceeds, or may reasonably be anticipated to exceed, $5,000 from ownership in real or personal property or a business; (iii) salary, other compensation, fringe benefits, or benefits from the use of property, or any combination thereof, paid or provided by a business or governmental agency that exceeds, or may reasonably be anticipated to exceed, $5,000 annually; (iv) ownership of real or personal property if the interest exceeds $5,000 in value and excluding ownership in a business, income, or salary, other compensation, fringe benefits or benefits from the use of property; (v) personal liability incurred or assumed on behalf of a business if the liability exceeds three percent of the asset value of the business; or (vi) an option for ownership of a business or real or personal property if the ownership interest will consist of clause (i) or (iv) above.