Financial Assistance to Governmental Member Voting Representatives

This document is designed to provide further information, based on CP-36 (“Sponsorship and Contributions”), regarding contributions of financial assistance to Governmental Member Voting Representatives (“GMR’s”) to attend ICC code hearings.

CP-36 defines the circumstances under which it is permissible for individuals or entities to contribute, and for GMR’s to accept, funds to enable a GMR to attend ICC code hearings. The purpose of CP-36 is to reduce the impact of economic interests on the outcome of those hearings. The policy seeks to prohibit, or appropriately regulate, financial assistance which is designed to increase participation by a particular interest group or by those supporting a particular position on a proposed code change.

CP-36 provides, in pertinent part:

3.0. Contributions. To allow industry and the public to contribute to the goals of the ICC in transparent and accountable processes, organizations and individuals are permitted to contribute financial assistance to governmental members to further ICC activities provided that:

3.1. Contributions of financial assistance to governmental member representatives for the purposes of participating in ICC activities are prohibited except for reimbursements by the ICC or its subsidiaries, a regional, state, or local chapter of the ICC, or a local, state or federal unit of government. For the purposes of this policy financial assistance includes the payment of expenses on behalf of the governmental member.

3.2. A governmental member accepting contributions of financial assistance from industry or other economic interests shall do so by action of its elected governing body or chief administrative authority.

3.3. Donations of technical services in support of a governmental member’s jurisdictional business activities are acceptable.

3.4. Any contributions to a governmental member of the ICC shall comply with applicable law.

Definition of “Financial Assistance”

“Financial assistance” means any form of assistance which reduces some or all of the cost of a GMR’s attendance at a code hearing. Examples: direct payment to the GMR, direct provision of travel assistance (e.g., providing an airline ticket), or reimbursement of expenses incurred by the GMR.

Limitations on financial assistance

The basic rule that is embodied in CP-36 is that a GMR can only accept financial assistance from:

(a) ICC or its subsidiaries
(b) An ICC chapter
(c) A local, state or federal unit of government

Regarding subparagraph (c), the intent is that a GMR may only accept financial assistance from the unit of government that the GMR represents.

Example: A GMR from the city of Los Angeles may not accept financial assistance from the city of San Diego.

In addition, a GMR may not accept financial assistance from a trade association of public sector entities or public officials, because trade associations are not a unit of government.

Example:  A GMR from the city of Los Angeles may not accept financial assistance from the National League of Cities, even though Los Angeles is a member of that organization, because the National League of Cities is not a unit of government.

However, in both of these examples, the financial assistance may be used to fund the GMR’s travel if

  1. it is given to the city of Los Angeles and then authorized for such use by the city’s elected governing body or chief administrative authority, or
  2. the city’s elected governing body or chief administrative authority expressly authorizes the acceptance by the GMR of such third-party financial assistance (see below).

Local government authorization

Financial assistance from trade associations or other groups is permitted as long as it is explicitly authorized by the “elected governing body or chief administrative authority” of the GMR’s unit of government. The rationale for this approach is that it is neither practical nor appropriate for ICC to police a local government’s compliance with its ethics or other rules regarding that jurisdiction’s acceptance of financial assistance from outside entities (including entities who may be subject to the jurisdiction’s regulatory authority).

Example: A trade association gives money to a local government. If the city council authorizes the use of that money to fund travel by its GMR to an ICC hearing, then the GMR can use the funds to attend the hearing. ICC respects the jurisdiction’s right to raise and expend funds as it sees fit, and in addition, will defer to a jurisdiction’s determination as to what is permitted under its rules relating to acceptance of funds from outside entities.

Enforcement mechanism

Prior to receiving a voting device, each GMR will have to sign a written certification that he/she has complied with ICC policy regarding the receipt of financial assistance in connection with attendance at the hearing. All GMR’s will be expected to be familiar with and understand such policy, and to have inquired of ICC well in advance of the hearing regarding any questions or uncertainty about the application of such policy. A GMR who does not sign the compliance certification, or who is determined to have accepted financial assistance from a prohibited source, will not be permitted to vote at the hearing.

Improper acceptance of financial assistance, or misrepresentation by a GMR about compliance with CP-36, which are discovered after a code hearing, may result in sanctions regarding voting at future hearings by the GMR or by other GMR’s from the same governmental member.

To the extent that an appellant from a code hearing intends to rely on violations of CP-36, such appellant should be mindful of the standard of review set forth in CP-1 (“Appeals”), which provides in section 5.3.8:

In order to sustain the appeal, or any part thereof, the Appeals Board must find that there was a material and significant irregularity of process or procedure.

The International Code Council Foundation scholarship program

The International Code Council Foundation has now established and implemented a scholarship program, with defined eligibility criteria, to help GMR’s attend code hearings. Click here for further information about the scholarship program.

In light of this program – which provides an outlet for those who in good faith want to generally increase participation at ICC code hearings – ICC believes that strict and bright-line limitations on financial assistance that aims to bring about a particular outcome are both necessary and appropriate.