Ethics Commission History

In 1976, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted the state's first Code of Ethics and created the Conflict of Interest Commission. That Code governed the activities of state and municipal elected and appointed officials and required all such officials to meet newly imposed financial disclosure requirements. The Conflict of Interest Commission enforced the statute.

In November, 1986, Rhode Island voters adopted a constitutional amendment creating the Rhode Island Ethics Commission as an independent and nonpartisan state agency with the authority on its own to adopt and enforce a Code of Ethics, to investigate violations and to impose penalties. R.I. Const. art. III, sec. 8.  Under this amendment, all Rhode Island (state and municipal) elected and appointed officials and public employees are subject to the Code of Ethics adopted by the Ethics Commission.  In 2016, Rhode Island voters again adopted constitutional amendments to clarify that the elected members of the General Assembly fall under the enforcement jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission notwithstanding any claims of legislative immunity.