The Ethics Commission generally holds two types of hearings. Probable Cause hearings are held in closed session.
Probable Cause hearings establish that the facts and circumstances would lead a reasonable person to believe that an ethics violation has occurred. If Probable Cause is determined then further actions will be undertaken which may include scheduling of a Public Hearing, settlement discussions or other forms of disposition.
Public hearings of an ethics complaint are similar to a trial and follow rules relating to testimony, evidence, standard of proof, issuance of subpoenas and the order of proceedings. The Commission’s Advocate acts as prosecutor and the Ethics Commission determines the findings and any penalties, which may include letters of advice or reprimand, fines, discipline or referral to another agency. Any ruling of the Commission regarding an ethics complaint may be appealed to a court of appropriate jurisdiction.
At each type of hearing the Respondent and the Commission’s Advocate will present facts and arguments regarding the alleged violation and appropriate next steps.
The policies and procedures governing these matters are contained in the following section of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure:
- Section E, Public Hearings
- Section F, Order of Public Hearing
- Section G, Appeals
- Section H, Penalties
Please address questions regarding ethics investigations to the Executive Director: