Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–1162.19. Advisory opinions.

(a) Upon application made by an employee or public official subject to the Code of Conduct, the Director of Government Ethics shall, within a reasonable period of time, provide an advisory opinion as to whether a specific transaction or activity inquired of would constitute a violation of a provision of the Code of Conduct over which the Board has primary jurisdiction.

(a-1)(1) The Director of Government Ethics may issue, on his or her own initiative, an advisory opinion on any general question of law he or she considers of sufficient public importance concerning a provision of the Code of Conduct over which the Board has primary jurisdiction.

(2) Before an advisory opinion is issued under this subsection, the Director of Government Ethics shall publish a notice of the proposed advisory opinion in the District of Columbia Register and provide a public-comment period of at least 30 days, during which a person may submit information or comment on the proposed advisory opinion. An advisory opinion that does not meet the procedural requirements of this paragraph shall be void ab initio.

(b) An advisory opinion shall be published in the District of Columbia Register within 30 days of its issuance; provided, that the identity of a person requesting an advisory opinion shall not be disclosed in the District of Columbia Register without the person’s prior consent in writing.

(c)(1) If an advisory opinion is issued by the Director of Government Ethics to a request for an advisory opinion, the requesting employee or public official may appeal the opinion for consideration by the Board.

(2) If the Director of Government Ethics issues an advisory opinion on his or her own initiative, an employee or public official aggrieved by the opinion may appeal the opinion for consideration by the Board.

(d) There shall be no enforcement of a violation of the Code of Conduct taken against an employee or public official who relied in good faith upon an advisory opinion requested by that employee or public official; provided, that the employee or public official, in seeking the advisory opinion, made full and accurate disclosure of all relevant circumstances and information.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 219, 59 DCR 1862; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-75, § 2(a), 61 DCR 36; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(u), 65 DCR 9388.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-75 deleted “the Ethics Board or” preceding “the Director of Government Ethics” in (a); added (a-1); and rewrote (c), which formerly read, “If issued by the Director of Government Ethics, an advisory opinion may be appealed for consideration by the Ethics Board.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(u) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(u) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-24, March 7, 2013, 60 DCR 3984, 20 DCSTAT 483).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-245, December 27, 2013, 61 DCR 135).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Temporary Amendment Act of 2013 (D.C. Law 20-3, May 18, 2013, 60 DCR 4622, 20 DCSTAT 1266).