A conflict of interest occurs when a public official participates in a governmental decision which would affect a financial interest. A conflict of interest takes away from the goal of the public official's job of enacting good public policy.
The conflict of interest laws keep public officials honest and prevent them from using their public office for private financial gain. These laws can be difficult to understand and sometimes harder to find. This guide will help you do both.
Senate Local Government Committee, "Your Guide to Conflicts of Interest Law: How We Govern Our Public Officials" (1992). California Senate. Paper 235.