Enforcement Overview and Filing a Complaint
Enforcement of the ethics codes is initiated by a complaint, filed by the OSE's Ethics Enforcement Officer or any member of the public. In most cases where the Ethics Enforcement Officer files a complaint, it is preceded by a confidential staff evaluation conducted by the agency's Enforcement Division.
A complaint from a member of the public must comply with certain requirements. These requirements, along with a comprehensive overview of the complaint process, are contained in the Citizen's Guide: Filing an Ethics Complaint
The two most important items to remember are:
- A complaint must be filed on the proper agency form, available on the Forms page. While the Enforcement Division receives many anonymous "tips" for review, only a formal complaint is formal action; and
- By law, complaints and investigations remain confidential prior to a finding of probable cause except upon the request of the respondent. Allegations in a complaint or information supplied to or received by the OSE during an investigation may not be disclosed to any third party.
In order to be acted upon by the Enforcement Division, a complaint filed by a member of the public must:
- Be Signed under penalty of false statement;
- Be received by the Office of State Ethics;
- Clearly set forth facts that, if true, would constitute a violation of the ethics codes; and
- Identify a respondent with sufficient particularity that the complaint can be served upon him or her.
Please note that the OSE does not have jurisdiction over local or municipal issues, or over individuals who are not state employees, public officials, lobbyists, or otherwise regulated by the Codes of Ethics.