A request for an advisory opinion from the Mississippi Ethics Commission on whether lawmakers who operate small businesses can apply for small business relief funds appropriated by the Legislature from the CARES Act funds they voted for has been withdrawn. This according to Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Hood.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann requested the opinion from the eight-member Commission on behalf of legislative members who were inquiring about the possibility of making application for the funds.

What resulted was disagreement within the Ethics Commission, with some viewing it as a conflict of interest.  A rare special meeting of the Commission was called for last Friday to discuss the matter.  No decision was made as the issue was tabled for further consideration in another meeting this week. The Commission sought more information on how the Mississippi Development Authority would be administering the funds.

With the request being withdrawn and it being the only item on the agenda for that called meeting, the Commission chairman, Ben Stone, has cancelled the meeting.

The Mississippi Ethics Commission is comprised of two members appointed by each of the following authorities: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.