Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Public Officials

Public Official Overview

The provisions in Oregon Government Ethics law restrict some choices, decisions or actions of a public official. The restrictions placed on public officials are different than those placed on private citizens because service in a public office is a public trust and the provisions in ORS Chapter 244 were enacted to provide one safeguard for that trust.

Public officials must know that they are held personally responsible for complying with the provisions in Oregon Government Ethics law. This means that each public official must make a personal judgement in deciding such matters as the use of official position for financial gain, what gifts are appropriate to accept, when to disclose the nature of conflicts of interest, and the employment of relatives or household members. If a public official fails to comply with the operative statues, a violation cannot be dismissed by placing the blame on the public official's government employer or the governing body represented by the public official.

Ethical Code of Conduct

On May 20, 2022, the Commission adopted this aspirational code of conduct as recommended by the Oregon Secretary of State 2021 Audit. 

As an elected, appointed, employed, or volunteer public official, I acknowledge that I am subject to compliance with Oregon Government Ethics law as set forth in ORS Chapter 244.

In the conduct of my official duties as a public official, I will act ethically when I:

  • Uphold the public trust by safeguarding the public money and resources
  • Behave in an open, honest, and transparent manner
  • Conduct the public's business fairly and objectively
  • Disclose financial conflicts of interest
  • Do not use my public position for personal gain
  • Observe limits on the receipt of gifts