About the Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC)
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC), established by vote of the people in 1974, is a 7 member citizen commission charged with enforcing government ethic laws. Oregon government ethic laws prohibit public officials from using office for financial gain, and require public disclosure of economic conflict of interest. The OGEC also enforces state laws which require lobbyists and the entities they represent to register and periodically report their expenditures. The 3rd area of OGEC jurisdiction is the executive session provisions of public meetings law.
During the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, Americans were confronted with deceit and misuse of power by elected officials. Citizens across the nation began calling for accountability from their governments. In response, Oregon was one of the first states to create laws designed to open government to greater public scrutiny.
In 1974, more than 70% of the voters approved a statewide ballot measure to create the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. The ballot measure also established a set of laws (Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapter 244) requiring financial disclosure by certain officials and creating a process to deal with the inevitable question of conflict of interest. The drafters of the original laws recognized that "conflict of interest" is, indeed, inevitable in any government that relies on citizen lawmakers.
Oregon Government Ethics Law
- Applies to all elected and appointed officials, employees and volunteers at all levels of state and local government in all 3 branches
- Prohibits use of public office for financial gain
- Requires public disclosure of financial conflicts of interest
- Requires designated elected and appointed officials to file an annual disclosure of sources of economic interest
- Limits gifts that an official may receive per calendar year
- Found in Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 244
Further Ethics Training
For further ethics training, visit the International City Manager's Association website.