Effective January 1, 2006, Chapter 176 of the Local Government Code requires that those who contract with or seek to contract with the City, whether they are successful or not, for the sale or purchase of property, goods, or individual or business in their dealings with the City must file a Conflict of Interest Questionnaire (PDF) with the City Secretary.
The questionnaire requires disclosure of certain business and gift giving relationships, if any, the individuals or businesses may have with local government officers as that term is defined under the new law. This form is to be filed no later than the 7th business day after the date that the individual or business (or agent) begins contract discussions or negotiations with the local governmental entity; or submits to the local governmental entity an application, response to a request for proposals or bids, correspondence, or another writing related to a potential agreement with the local governmental entity. See, Section 176.006, Local Government Code.
The vendor is required to update the form no later than the 7th business day after the date of an event that would make a statement in the previously filed questionnaire incomplete or inaccurate. Also, if the vendor files the initial questionnaire prior to June 1, the vendor must file an updated questionnaire not later than September 1 of each year the vendor has an agreement, contract or potential agreement or contract pending. See, Section 176.006(d), Local Government Code. A person commits an offense if the person violates Section 176.006; an offense under this Section is a Class C misdemeanor.
Compliance is the responsibility of each individual, business and agent who is subject to the requirements of Chapter 176, Local Government Code. Should you have questions concerning this matter, please consult your own legal counsel. More information is available on the Texas Ethics Commission website. The requirements are also discussed in this article by the Texas Municipal League.