Complaints which do not state or constitute a material violation of the Ethics Act, or are outside the two-year statute of limitations, are dismissed without investigation. All information remains confidential.
The Act authorizes the Commission to enter into Conciliation Agreements with persons who are subjects of investigations. Such an agreement allows a person to resolve a Complaint (or potential complaint) through an administrative settlement agreement to avoid the inconvenience and expense of a public hearing.
Conciliation agreements may be entered into at any stage of an investigation or proceeding. The respondent's cooperation, and the savings of time and expense, are matters the Commission considers in establishing the penalties to be imposed.
All Conciliation Agreements are subject to public disclosure. Copies of all agreements can be obtained by contacting the Ethics Commission office.
The members of the Ethics Commission may constitute a hearing board to adjudicate complaints. The Commission's decision is based on evidence taken at a public hearing where charges are prosecuted by an attorney for the Commission before a hearing examiner.
If a majority of the Commissioners find beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has committed a material violation of the Ethics Act the Commission has the authority to impose one or more of the following sanctions:
1. Public reprimand;
2. Cease and desist order;
3. Order of restitution;
4. Fines not to exceed $5,000 per violation; and/or
5. Reimbursement to the Commission for the actual costs of investigating and
prosecuting a violation.