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Conflict of Interest

A Statement of Economic Interest is required by state law, pursuant to §2.2-3114 of the Code of Virginia and Executive Order 16 (2010), 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 those employees "who have substantial responsibility for procurement, audit, investment or other activities that could be subject to abuse or improper influence as a result of personal economic interest." Each state institution of higher education, in turn, is required to identify employees who meet those criteria. Financial interests shall be disclosed as a condition of assuming employment and then annually on or before January 15.

Clearly, the president, all vice presidents, deans, department head, and directors of programs with any significant financial component must file the statement. Additionally, any persons who have a substantial responsibility for any expenditure of funds or who direct or have substantial responsibility for any "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.

In addition employees may be required to file the disclosure statement for reasons not specifically described. The code section set forth 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 that has potential to conflict with that person's duties as a state employee. 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.

Employees should be aware that failure to abide by the terms of these laws may make them subject to legal penalties, including criminal prosecution and/or forfeiture of employment. The State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act specifies serious consequences for violations of the conflict of interests' requirements. (See Va. Code, § 2.2-3120 et seq.) 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 than $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. Because the language of these acts is complex an employee may need the assistance of his/her personal attorney in completing the statement. Employees may seek advisory opinions from the Attorney General on the Conflict of Interest Act.

As an employee subject to the State and Local Government Conflict of Interest Act, you must also complete the Conflict of Interest Act training every two years.