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(1) The following are examples of situations where the employee is required to make full, complete and timely disclosure:

(a) A tax auditor employed by the department prepares federal and state income tax returns for a private client on his own time. The private client is later identified as an income tax audit candidate, and it is possible the auditor could be assigned to conduct the audit. As soon as the auditor becomes aware of these facts he must disclose the potential conflict of interest created by his involvement with the private client's taxes so that the department can take steps to avoid a conflict of interest (such as by assigning an auditor without the conflict) .

(b) The department hires an attorney whose sister is an attorney and partner in a local law firm. The attorney's sister brings an action on behalf of a client against the department. The department employee must disclose the ethical issue as soon as it is known so that a different attorney can be assigned to work on the case. Disclosure of the potential conflict as soon as the attorney is hired would be preferable but the disclosure needs to occur in time to prevent a clear conflict of interest.

(c) A department employee responsible for audits of oil companies owns stock in an oil company. The employee must disclose her ownership interest in the oil company. If the interest is small and the outcome of an audit will have little or no direct impact on the employee, the department may determine that no actual conflict of interest exists. However, disclosure is still required in order to allow the employee and the department to prevent a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest from occurring.

(d) An employee is a real property appraiser for property tax purposes. The appraiser also has a private fee appraisal service. He conducts a private fee appraisal for a certain property owner. If the appraiser may be assigned to appraise the property owner's property as part of his duties with the department, the appraiser must disclose the ethical issue. The employee and the department must take steps to insure that the appraiser does not do both appraisals on the same property. Disclosure is also required if the employee is in a position of reviewing a department appraisal of the property. Disclosure may also be required if the employee has any other business relationship with a particular property, such as a sale by an employee who is a real estate agent.

(e) A department employee performs computer programming and analysis on her own time for a private corporation. If the employee is aware that the corporation is actively seeking a significant contract to provide consulting services to the state or is providing services to the state, the employee must disclose this outside employment. The outside employment may create a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest. Upon disclosure the department and employee can determine whether a conflict or appearance of conflict exists and what steps can be taken to cure any potential problems.

History: 2-15-112, 15-1-201, MCA; IMP, Sec. 2-2-101, 2-2-104, 2-2-121, 2-15-112, 15-1-20, 15-1-202, MCA; NEW, 1999 MAR p. 2576, Eff. 11/5/99.

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