Compilation of Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
Department 189 - RULES OF STATE ETHICS COMMISSION.
Chapter 189-2 - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Rule 189-2-.03 - Complaints

Universal Citation: GA Rules and Regs r 189-2-.03

RULE 189-2-.03. Complaints

(1) Form of Complaint. All complaints to be considered by the Commission shall be filed in writing with the Commission and shall contain the following:

(a) The name, address, and e-mail address of the person or persons who file the complaint.

(b) The sworn verification and signature of the complainant.

(c) The name and address of the party or parties against whom the complaint is filed, and if any such party is a candidate, the office being sought by said candidate.

(d) A clear and concise statement of the facts upon which the complaint is based along with an allegation that such facts constitute one or more violations of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other law under the jurisdiction of the Commission.

(e) A general reference to the statutory provision(s) of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act, Vendor Gift Disclosure Law, Commission Rule, or any other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission allegedly violated by respondent.

(f) Any further information which might support the allegations in the complaint including, but not limited to, the following:

1. The name and address of all other persons who have firsthand knowledge of the facts alleged in the complaint;

2. Any documentary evidence that supports the facts alleged in the complaint.

(2) Technical Defects. Upon receipt of a complaint that alleges technical defects, as defined in O.C.G.A. §21-5-7.1 and by these Rules, Commission staff shall follow the requirements for handling technical defects stated in O.C.G.A. §21-5-7.1. A respondent in receipt of a complaint sent to respondent pursuant to Rule 189-2-.03(3), below, may assert that the complaint contains technical defects which have not been identified by Commission staff. The respondent must state the grounds supporting the claim that a technical defect exists, provide all supporting evidence supporting that assertion, and submit appropriate filings correcting the technical defects. If, based on respondent's submission, Commission staff agrees that technical defects did indeed exist, and, if the technical defects are corrected, it shall treat the correction of the defects consistent with the provisions of O.C.G.A. §21-5-7.1. If the alleged violations do not constitute technical defects or if they were not corrected, Commission staff shall begin investigation on the complaint consistent with the requirements of Rule 189-2-.03(5).

(3) Preliminary Action on the Complaint. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission staff shall send a copy of the complaint to the respondent affording an opportunity to respond to the complaint within thirty (30) days in writing if desired. Responses or other documents submitted by the Complainant or Respondent to the Commission after the thirty day period may be disregarded by the Commission or staff during the preliminary investigation or at the preliminary hearing. If additional violations are discovered during the investigation of any complaint, notice shall be given to the Respondent as to those additional violations. The Respondent shall then have fourteen (14) days from the date of the notice to provide a response. Otherwise, Commission staff shall present a Probable Cause petition to the Commission.

(4) Defective Complaint. Upon receipt of a written complaint which does not conform to the requirements of paragraph (1) of this Rule, the Executive Secretary of the Commission shall by letter acknowledge receipt of the complaint, advise the complainant of the defect in the complaint and inform the complainant that the complaint will not be considered by the Commission unless the defect is corrected.

(5) Preliminary Investigation of Complaint. The Commission staff shall conduct a preliminary investigation of any non-defective complaint and recommend as a part of its on-going investigation what further action, if any, should be taken. If the Commission staff should determine, after completing its preliminary investigation, that there is no evidentiary or jurisdictional basis for proceeding on a complaint under the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or any other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission, then the staff shall so notify the Complainant and administratively dismiss the complaint without requiring any formal action by the Commission.

(6) Preliminary Hearing. Following the preliminary investigation the complaint shall be scheduled for a preliminary hearing before the Commission and the Complainant and Respondent shall be notified of the scheduled hearing date. At such hearing, the Commission shall determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred and if such a finding is made the matter will be set down for a hearing pursuant to the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act. The Respondent will have 30 days to initiate resolution of the matter with Commission staff prior to an APA hearing. If the Commission finds no reasonable grounds to believe a violation has occurred, the complaint shall be dismissed, subject to being reopened upon discovery of additional evidence or relevant material.

(7) Consideration of the Complaint. If at the preliminary hearing it is determined that further action is warranted, the Commission shall proceed as provided by law in contested cases. Nothing in this rule shall require the Commission to dispose of any matter in a single hearing nor shall this rule prevent the matter from being subject to further investigation by the Commission staff.

(8) The Commission shall not initiate an investigation on any complaint filed within thirty (30) days of an election in which the subject of the complaint is a participant or candidate in said election.

O.C.G.A. §§21-5-4, 21-5-6, 21-5-7, 21-5-7.1.

(Original Rule entitled "Complaints" adopted. F. Apr. 9, 1987; eff. Apr. 29, 1987. Amended: F. May 6, 1987; eff. May 26, 1987. Amended: F. Feb. 22, 2000; eff. Mar. 13, 2000. Amended: F. Oct. 12, 2006; eff. Nov. 1, 2006. Repealed: New Rule of same title adopted. F. Dec. 18, 2007; eff. Jan. 7, 2008. Amended: F. Aug. 24, 2015; eff. Sep. 13, 2015. Amended: F. Jan. 11, 2016; eff. Jan. 31, 2016.)
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