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Course Overview

Government Code section 11146 requires all covered state officials to complete an ethics orientation conducted by their agency every two years. The Attorney General’s Office and the Fair Political Practices Commission have devised this core course that may be incorporated into an ethics orientation by any state agency.

Under the law, your agency must provide a public record of who has taken its ethics orientation. If this core course is a part of your agency’s ethics orientation as mandated by the law, make sure that you are following your agency’s procedures for completing this aspect of the orientation. Once you have completed this core course, you will be able to print a certificate of completion that you can sign and file with your agency. The certificate likely will be retained by your agency as a disclosable public record.

Time Required to Take This Course

We recommend that you allow approximately one and one-half to two hours to complete this orientation. While this may seem like a long time, a lecture format would most likely take longer.

Once you have completed this core course, please feel free to use it as a resource in the future and recommend it to others you think could benefit from it.

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About the Core Course

This course is not intended to make you into an expert. Rather, the goal is to expose you to these laws and their application in order to alert you to potential conflict-of-interest situations.

Once you identify basic conflict situations, you should consult with your agency’s legal counsel or other resources. We will identify a variety of resources for you at the conclusion of the orientation.

Further, in order to make this orientation an efficient training exercise, we have avoided inserting legal citations into the orientation. In that vein, we also have avoided inserting hyperlink material into the orientation. These hyperlinks are, however, available at the conclusion of the course.

Finally, each of the laws that we will examine in this course must be considered independently. It is quite possible that any given transaction could involve more than one law. In that vein, it is important to realize that a term such as “financial interest” may have different meanings in the context of different laws.

Similarly, conduct that is permissible under one law may violate another. Because these laws are complex, it is essential that you maintain close contact with your legal counsel when ethics questions arise.

The Office of the Attorney General is available to assist your counsel in analyzing ethics questions. In addition, the Fair Political Practices Commission can advise either you or your counsel regarding the provisions of the Political Reform Act, either orally or in writing.

The Fair Political Practices Commission can provide you with fact sheets and brochures as well as copies of its regulations and opinions.

You may contact the Commission by telephone, letter or fax. At the end of this orientation, you will be given this and additional reference information.

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Remember These Points

This course is only a teaching tool that may be provided as a part of your agency’s orientation program. It is intended to help you identify conflict-of-interest issues so that you can consult with your agency’s attorney. Each law discussed in this orientation must be evaluated independently. Conduct that is permissible under one law may violate another law. You should ensure that you are following all of your agency’s requirements for completion of its ethics orientation.

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You have completed the "Course Overview" module. The next module is Overview of Political Reform Act.

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The California Attorney General's Office and the Fair Political Practices Commission

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