Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission?
In 2013, the Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission was created by SB 86. The Commission’s duties include responding to and investigating allegations of unethical conduct by executive branch officials. The Commission has jurisdiction over the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and State Treasurer. The Commission is comprised of five members, one former state elected official, one former state appointed official, one former judge, and two citizens.
2. What is the purpose of the Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission?
The Independent Executive Branch Ethics Commission was established to provide ethical oversight for executive branch officials. These include the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor and State Treasurer. (UCA 63A-14-303(1))
3. What if I have a complaint about a state employee?
The actions of state employees are governed by the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act. If you have an ethical concern about a state employee, you can contact that employee’s supervisor or department head. (UCA 67-16)
4. Who can file a complaint against an executive branch official?
Two or more registered voters who currently reside in Utah can file a complaint if at least one of those registered voters has actual knowledge of the facts and circumstances supporting the alleged violation. (UCA 63A-14-402(A)(ii))
5. Is there a time frame for making a complaint?
A complaint must be filed within two years of either the day the violation occurred or the day a plea or conviction forming the basis of the complaint is entered. (UCA 63A-14-302(2))
6. Can I file a complaint against a former executive branch official?
No. The Commission only has jurisdiction over individuals who are currently serving as executive branch officials. (UCA 63A-14-303(1))
7. Can I file a complaint at any time?
Yes, if the executive branch official is not currently a candidate for reelection. If the executive branch official is an opposed candidate in an election, a complaint cannot be filed within 60 days leading up to a primary or general election. This is to prevent the use of ethical complaints as political tactic in an election. (UCA 63A-14-302(2)(c))
8. Can I file a complaint online?
No. Complaints must contain original signatures of the complainants and must be accompanied by copies of official records or documentary evidence. (UCA 63A-14-302(3))
9. Can I file a complaint anonymously?
No. The complaint must contain the name, address and telephone number of those filing a complaint. (UCA 63A-14-302(3)(b))
10. Do I have to provide evidence of the ethical violation?
Yes. Each complaint must be accompanied by documentary evidence, affidavits or a list of witnesses. (UCA 63A-14-302(3)(A))
11. What happens after I make a complaint?
All ethical complaints are first reviewed by the Independent Executive Ethics Commission. The Commission will investigate the complaint and conduct a hearing if necessary. If the complaint is found to have merit, it will be forwarded to the Legislature for further action. (UCA 63A-14-605)
12. Will complaints be made public?
The complaints made to the Independent Executive Ethics Commission are not public. At that level, no one may disclose the existence of a complaint or any information concerning the subject of the complaint. If any information about the complaint is made public the complaint will be dismissed. However, once the Commission has determined a complaint has merit, it will be forwarded to the Legislature and made publicly available. (UCA 63A-14-605(4))