I am running for mayor in MS, and so far I think I have answered all question correctly ($10,000 fine for an incorrect answer).

But this question is confusing me:

List all public bodies, whether federal, state or local government, from which you, your spouse and any person over the age of twenty-one (21) who resided in your household during the entire preceding calendar year received compensation in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) during the preceding calendar year, whether the compensation was paid directly or indirectly through another person or business.

Click the Add button below to add another public body.

I am not even sure what they are asking. Mainly I am wondering if this is referring to student aid from a community college, because I did receive student aid last year and so did my brother.

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    Please don't take it otherwise, I am myself a relatively new person on the forum. Is there any "Contact Us" link available on their site. I'm sure someone with good knowledge will definitely answer your question. All the best :) – lawsome Jan 24 '17 at 13:30

If you need legal advice about how to proceed, you need to hire an attorney. We can only address questions about the general nature of law, etc. The caveat out of the way, the first question is whether financial aid is "compensation". MS§25-4-3(e) in article on the Ethics Commission defines the term:

"Compensation" means money or thing of value received, or to be received, from any person for services rendered or to be rendered

Student aid is not necessarily compensation, but it might be. One form that it can take is as a loan, or as a grant: that is not a thing of value for services rendered. But another is e.g. work-study, which is employment, where you do some work and are paid for it – that is compensation. So it depends on the facts.

The other question is whether (if the aid was in the form of employment) the employer got the money to pay you from a public body. There is not a clearly applicable definition of "public body" in the ethics statutes. §31-7-301 defines "public bodies"

The term "public bodies" shall mean all state agencies, political subdivisions, school districts, municipalities and public corporations, whether created by charter, statute or executive order, whether supported wholly or in part by public funds, or which expend public funds.

This, though, is in an unrelated section about timely payment for purchases by public bodies. The Public Records law § 25-61-3 defines a public body as

any department, bureau, division, council, commission, committee, subcommittee, board, agency and any other entity of the state or a political subdivision thereof, and any municipal corporation and any other entity created by the Constitution or by law, executive order, ordinance or resolution.

The wording is different, but there isn't a clear difference in terms of what things are covered by one definition versus another. In case you worked for a committee that was created by a city council resolution, that would not obviously be covered by first definition, but it is clearly included by the second; the first definition ties "public body" to public funds but the second doesn't. It is therefore difficult to tell what the law says, when the law doesn't actually give a uniform definition of the term. In case of doubt, include everything.

Further supporting an expansive legislative intent is the definition of "public servant" as an elected or appointed official of the government (pretty normal) and also

Any officer, director, commissioner, supervisor, chief, head, agent or employee of the government or any agency thereof, or of any public entity created by or under the laws of the State of Mississippi or created by an agency or governmental entity thereof, any of which is funded by public funds or which expends, authorizes or recommends the use of public funds; or

Any individual who receives a salary, per diem or expenses paid in whole or in part out of funds authorized to be expended by the government.

In other words, if the money can be traceable back to a governmental unit, that is probably considered to be a "public body". Also, "public employee" is defined as:

any individual who receives a salary, per diem or expenses paid in whole or in part out of funds authorized to be expended by the Mississippi State Legislature or by the governing body of any political subdivision thereof, or any other body politic within the State of Mississippi

For example, if I happen to give a lecture, not even in Mississippi, and part of my expenses are paid in part by U. Miss, then I am a "public employee" – not the ordinary interpretation of the term, but they can define terms as they want.

The really tricky part is that the payment does not have to be directly from a public body. You may work for a private company, but that company may be, in part, using money from a public body to pay you, and you may not know that.

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This covers any type of payment from a government or government funded body to you or any member of your household for any reason. Student grants would fit.

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