As defined earlier, public officials become public officials through employment, appointment, election or volunteering. Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 244.040(1) prohibits every public official from using or attempting to use the position held as a public official to obtain a financial benefit, if the opportunity for the financial benefit would not otherwise be available but for the position held by the public official.
The prohibited financial benefit can be either an opportunity for gain or to avoid an expense.
Each public official is prohibited from using the position as a public official to receive certain financial benefits. In addition, each public official is prohibited from using or attempting to use the official position to obtain financial benefits for a relative or a member of the public official's household, or for a business with which the public official, a relative, or a member of the public official's household is associated.
There are a variety of actions that could be a prohibited use or attempted use of an official position. The use of a position could be:
- Voting in a public meeting
- Placing a signature on a government agency's document
- Making a recommendation
- Making a purchase with government agency funds
- Conducting personal business on a government agency's time or with a government agency's resources such as computers, vehicles, heavy equipment or office machines