State declines business discount
A special CompUSA sale is disallowed for state employees
State employees may not participate in a special "appreciation day" sales event being offered by CompUSA in Hawaii to all of its business clients, according to the state Ethics Commission.
The sales event was announced yesterday in a letter sent by e-mail from CompUSA.
CompUSA General Manager Ken Elton said the special sale is arranged every year around the holiday season for businesses and other clients who regularly shop at the computer and electronics store.
Elton said state employees were not singled out, but that a blanket e-mail was sent to all of CompUSA's business clients in Hawaii. Those clients include some state employees.
"We don't target anybody specific," Elton said. "It's open to all of the employees of all of our business clients."
Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway said his office received some inquiries after the e-mail was sent asking whether it would be acceptable for state employees to participate.
The answer is no.
"Since the discounts were offered by CompUSA to their state clients who have purchased goods for the state, the state ethics code would bar these state employees from making personal purchases for themselves or others," Mollway said in a news release.
The gifts section of the state ethics code would be violated, he said, because "it would be 'reasonable to infer' that the discounts were made 'to reward or influence' official action by state employees."
Mollway said the e-mail also urged employees to forward the letter and extend the offer to state workers who do not buy work-related products from CompUSA, but they also would be barred from participating under the state ethics code.
The special sale days at CompUSA's stores in Kakaako and Pearl Highlands were set for tomorrow and Dec. 16 from 6 to 10 p.m., when the store is closed to the general public. Discounts included 6 percent on desktop computers, monitors, laptops and printers and 10 percent on software, accessories, PDAs, cameras and cell phones, the letter stated.