State ethics advisory warns of free golf play

Commission reminds state workers, lawmakers of ethics laws

Published  6:33 PM HST Jul 10, 2013
HONOLULU -

A state ethics probe is underway and it centers around free golf for workers on the state payroll.

In an unusual move, the State Ethics Commission sent out an advisory.  It reminds all state department heads and lawmakers that the practice of accepting complimentary golf is frowned upon.

The advisory notes:  "There appears that there are many state employees and legislators  who may have accepted, and continue to accept complimentary golf."

The commission added:  "...absent extraordinary and rare circumstances, the commission construes the State Ethics code to prohibit state employees and lawmakers from accepting complimentary golf."

The commission also noted  that  it's immaterial that state business is discussed, or whether the tournament helps charities, or whether the event takes place on the weekend or whether the employee plays on a vacation day.

Now, city ethics laws don’t specifically address free golf, but if a gift is meant to influence an appointed or elected official, it could be considered a violation.

Violators could be subject to fines or other disciplinary action.

Do you want to print this page now?