conflict of interest

the circumstance of a public officeholder, business executive, or the like, whose personal interests might benefit from his or her official actions or influence: The senator placed his stocks in trust to avoid possible conflict of interest.
the circumstance of a person who finds that one of his or her activities, interests, etc., can be advanced only at the expense of another of them.

1950–55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

conflict of interest definition

A situation in which someone who has to make a decision in an official capacity stands to profit personally from the decision. For example, a judge who rules on a case involving a corporation in which he or she owns stock has a conflict of interest.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The remarkable thing was that even when the estimators were told that the
  advisers had a conflict of interest they didn't care.
Potential jurors who have a conflict of interest in a case are not allowed to
  be on that case's jury.
Peer review should either support or undermine their ideas and at that point
  conflict of interest will no longer be a concern.
Removing the conflict of interest should ultimately benefit everybody.
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