One of the more difficult times for preventing conflict of interest occurs when the government official hs an indirect connection with a special interest – a connection that doesn’t have to be disclosed on the official’s personal financial state. Examples of these include unknown clients of lawmakers who have legal, business, or consulting relationships on matters involving government actions…….in the case of Assemblyman Gerald Green, who received income of more than $50,000 in 2006 from his consulting firm, Jerry Green Enterprises, but showed none of the clients for whom he provided services. At the same time, Green was vice president for local affairs of the Alman Group, a lobbying and government consulting firm. In the legislature, Green served as chair of the assembly committee that had jurisdiction over housing issues, which of course would be of concern to Alman’s developer clients. The connection with Green appeared on the Alman website, not on the assemblyman’s disclosure filing. Green insisted that the projects on which he consulted involved no lobbying or state contracts. Nonpartisan legislative counsel ruled in 2006 that Green’s work at Alman violates no ethics code as long as it is unrelated to his “official duties.” But wouldn’t it be more reassuring to the public if Green were compelled to disclose his major clients, whether through Alman or Jerry Green Enterprises, as well as affirm that his relationships with these clients did not conflict with his official duties? After an Asbury Park Press article raised this question, his subsequent financial disclosure statement showed a decline in income from Jerry Green Enterprises to zero in 2009.
Here are those financial disclosure forms for: