The Ohio Ethics Commission recently focused on its investigative activity in the July/August 2014 edition of its publication, “The Voice of Ethics.” In addition to an explanation of the Commission’s authority and the investigative process, the Commission summarized the matters investigated in 2013. At the top of the list, representing 45 percent of the cases, were issues involving public contracts.

While the Ethics Commission is often thought of as a government-focused entity, it is important to remember that the Ohio Ethics laws, and thus the Commission’s jurisdiction, include actions by private parties. Most, if not all, of the public contract investigations referenced above involved a private company or business in some manner.

The Commission processes almost 500 allegations of wrongdoing every year. Understanding the conflict of interest laws and having solid policies in place to govern relationships with your public sector customers can help your company avoid being involved in such an allegation.