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disclosure of financial relationship


MBUSA
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Hello, I'm the chair of a local sports hall-of-fame organization in which members discuss and elect candidates for entry.  If a member has an ongoing financial relationship with a candidate, should that member disclose this in conjunction with discussing the candidate?  Are there rules or guidance references that I can site?  Thanks!

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3 hours ago, MBUSA said:

Hello, I'm the chair of a local sports hall-of-fame organization in which members discuss and elect candidates for entry.  If a member has an ongoing financial relationship with a candidate, should that member disclose this in conjunction with discussing the candidate?  Are there rules or guidance references that I can site?  Thanks!

 

30 minutes ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

RONR does not address this matter.

I would say that RONR does address the issue on page 407 regarding abstaining from a vote when a member has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not in common  with other members of the organization.

It sounds to me like that might be the case here.

Edited by Richard Brown
Typographical correction due to using voice to text on a cell phone
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RONR does not require disclosure of a financial interest in a matter to be voted on, but it does say that a member with the type financial interest being discussed should abstain from voting on such a matter. A member does not need to provide a reason for abstaining. 

I believe that the failure to either disclose such a financial interest or to abstain from voting in that situation could be grounds for censure or even possible disciplinary action against the member.

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I agree that page 407 would apply, however that is clear that while should abstain, he cannot be compelled to abstain. While it may be advisable to disclose the financial relationship, there is no rule requiring it, even if the  member should choose abstain for that reason.

While failing to disclose or failure to abstain could result in censure, so could just about any action that member might take or fail to take.  There is basically no standard for determining the reason for censure.  Similarly, the grounds for disciplinary action are basically determined by the assembly (see pp. 643-4).

 

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MBUSA, here is the pertinent  language from page 407 of the current 11th edition of RONR. You can judge for yourself whether you think it is applicable. 

ABSTAINING FROM VOTING ON A QUESTION OF DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST. No member should vote on a question in which he has a direct personal or pecuniary interest not common to other members of the organization. For example, if a motion proposes that the organization enter into a contract with a commercial firm of which a member of the organization is an officer and from which contract he would derive personal pecuniary profit, the member should abstain from voting on the motion. However, no member can be compelled to refrain from voting in such circumstances.

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MBUSA said:

If a member has an ongoing financial relationship with a candidate, ...

The OP did not tells us exactly what that relationship was. It could be something entirely innocent such as the candidate being a client of the member's business organization. If the candidate has promised anything of value to the member, or the member stands to gain something of value by the candidate's election, then we have a serious situation. However, we do not know that for a fact. Right now it sounds as a tempest in a teapot. Perhaps when the member submits the candidate's name for election someone can ask the member to disclose the nature of their financial relationship and make a decision at that time, or commit the question to an investigative committee, or any similar action.

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