CTLN Opinion+: Peter Lewandowski

The executive director of the state ethics office on lobbying and keeping corruption at bay

Description of the video: 

The Connecticut Office of State Ethics is tasked with keeping state politicians accountable and financially honest. This week CTLN Opinion+ spoke to Peter Lewandowski, executive director of the state ethics office to learn more about lobbying and how our public offices are keeping corruption at bay. 

Once in public office, politicians are seen as not only representatives of their community but also leaders. The code of ethics provides limitations and expectations of which the public servant has to follow. The ethics advisory board interprets and applies the Ethics Codes, investigates violations, and provides information to the public. 

In his role as the executive director, Lewandowski provides opinions, legal advice, guidance and education to public officials, state employees and lobbyists. During our conversation we talk about former speaker of the house Joe Aresimowicz, becoming a lobbyist. Lewandowski’s office provided an opinion as well as some limitations to the former speaker’s role as a lobbyist during his first year with the firm. This is to even the playing field as most of the state legislators are his former colleagues.

We also discussed the necessity to remain objective when evaluating a possible violation of the code of ethics. While we all have our biases and personal opinions, Lewandoewski’s office must interpret the code of ethics without political opinion to properly execute his responsibilities. 

The Office of State Ethics is an office that is important to the health of the state in addressing financial ethics and conflicts. The ethics office does not address disciplinary violations or behavior violations. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board

The Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board (CEAB, or Board) is a nine-member Board.  The members are appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders for staggered, four-year terms. 

Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board Member Overview

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Office of State Ethics – Plain-Language Guides

Public Officials and State Employees

·       Public Officials and State Employees Guide to the Code of Ethics (Rev.1/2020) (Rev.1/2020)

·       Connecticut State Legislators Guide to the Code of Ethics (Rev.1/2020) 

Lobbyists

·       Client Lobbyist Guide to the Code of Ethics (Rev. 11/2020)  

·       Communicator Guide to the Code of Ethics (Rev. 11/2020)  

Ethics Complaints

·       Citizen’s Guide to Filing a Complaint (Rev. 1/2020)

·       File Ethics Complaint

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