Code of the District of Columbia

Part A. Government Ethics and Accountability.


§ 1–1162.02. Establishment of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability.

(a) There is established, as an independent agency of the District government, a Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, whose purpose shall be to:

(1) Administer and enforce the Code of Conduct;

(2) Appoint a Director of Open Government;

(3) Appoint a Director of Government Ethics;

(4) Receive, investigate, and adjudicate violations of the Code of Conduct;

(5) Conduct mandatory training on the Code of Conduct;

(6) Produce ethics training materials, including summary guidelines for all applicable laws and regulations;

(7) Produce a plain-language ethics guide;

(8) Issue rules and regulations governing the ethical conduct of employees and public officials; and

(9) Establish an anonymous and confidential telephone hotline for the purpose of receiving information related to violations of the Code of Conduct or other information with regard to the administration or enforcement of the Code of Conduct.

(b) By December 31 of each year, the Board shall submit a report to the Mayor and Council with recommendations on improving the District's government ethics and open government and transparency laws, including:

(1) An assessment of ethical guidelines and requirements for employees and public officials;

(2) A review of national and state best practices in open government and transparency; and

(3) Amendments to the Code of Conduct, the Open Meetings Act, and the Freedom of Information Act of 1976.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 202, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(b), 65 DCR 9388.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1161.01, § 1-1162.21, and § 1-1171.01.

Emergency Legislation

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

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 1073 of Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-383, June 19, 2012, 59 DCR 7764).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 1073 of Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-413, July 25, 2012, 59 DCR 9290).

Editor's Notes

Section 1073 of Law 19-168 provided that any matter arising after January 29, 2012, from a violation of Title I, Subtitle C of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2012, effective January 29, 2012 (D.C. Act 19-298; 59 DCR 683), or Title II, Subtitle C of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2012, effective April 27, 2012 (D.C. Law 19-124; D.C. Official Code § 1-1161.01 et seq.), may be enforced by the Elections Board until October 1, 2012, after which pending matters shall be transferred to the Ethics Board for enforcement.


§ 1–1162.03. Composition; term; qualifications; removal.

(a) The Board shall consist of 5 members, no more than 3 of whom shall be of the same political party, appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Council. Members shall be appointed to serve for terms of 6 years, except the members first appointed. Of the members first appointed, one member shall be appointed to serve for a 2-year term, 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a 4-year term, and 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a 6-year term, as designated by the Mayor. The terms of the 5 initial members shall begin on July 1, 2012.

(b)(1) The Mayor shall submit a nomination for membership on the Board to the Council for a 90-day period of review, excluding days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the nomination, by resolution, within the 90-day review period, the nomination shall be deemed disapproved.

(2) Within 45 days of April 27, 2012, the Mayor shall submit to the Council for its review pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection the nominations for initial appointment to the Board.

(c) The Mayor shall designate the Board's Chairperson.

(d) Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall be appointed only for the unexpired term of the member whose vacancy he or she is filling. The terms of the 5 initial members shall begin on July 1, 2012.

(e) A vacancy shall be noticed in the District of Columbia Register.

(f) A member may be reappointed, and, if not reappointed, the member may serve until the member’s successor has been appointed and approved.

(g)(1) When appointing and confirming a member of the Board, the Mayor and Council shall consider whether the individual:

(A) Possesses demonstrated integrity, independence, and public credibility; and

(B) Has particular knowledge, training, or experience in government ethics or in open government and transparency.

(2) At least one member of the Board shall have particular experience in open government and transparency.

(h) A person shall not be a member of the Board unless he or she:

(1) Is a duly registered voter;

(2) Has resided in the District continuously since the beginning of the one-year period ending on the day he or she is appointed; and

(3) Holds no other office or employment in the District government.

(i) [A] Board member shall not:

(1) Act as a leader or hold any office in a District political organization;

(2) Make speeches for a District political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a District of Columbia candidate for public office;

(3) Solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a District political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a District of Columbia political organization or candidate;

(4) Be a lobbyist;

(5) Use his or her status as a member to directly or indirectly attempt to influence any decision of the District government relating to any action that is not within the Board’s purview; or

(6) During the member’s tenure on the Board, be convicted of having committed a felony in the District of Columbia, or if the crime is committed elsewhere, convicted of an offense that would have been a felony if it had been committed in the District of Columbia.

(j) A member of the Board may be removed for good cause, including engaging in any activity prohibited by subsections (h) or (i) of this section, in accordance with the following procedure:

(1) When the Mayor believes that there is good cause to remove a member, the Mayor shall notify the member in writing by personal service or by certified or registered mail, setting out the alleged cause and advising the member that he or she has 7 days in which to request a hearing before the Council.

(2) If the member fails to request a hearing within 7 days after receiving the notice, the Mayor may remove the member and appoint a new member to serve until the expiration of the term of the member removed.

(3) If within 7 days of receiving notice from the Mayor, the member requests a hearing, the Mayor shall promptly notify the Council, and the Council shall convene the hearing within 30 calendar days after receiving notice from the Mayor that a member has requested a hearing.

(4) At the conclusion of the hearing, the Council shall vote on whether to remove the member. If 2/3rds of the Council votes to remove a member, the member shall be removed and the Mayor shall appoint a new member to serve until the expiration of the term of the member removed.

(5) If less than 2/3rds of the Council votes to remove a member, the member shall not be removed.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 203, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 1082, 62 DCR 10905; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 1012(a), 63 DCR 10775; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(c), 65 DCR 9388.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36, in (a), substituted “5 members, no more than 3 of whom” for “3 members, no more than 2 of whom” in the first sentence, substituted “one member shall be appointed to serve for a 2-year term, 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a 4-year term, and 2 members shall be appointed to serve for a 6-year term” for “one member shall be appointed to serve for a 2-year term, one member shall be appointed to serve for a 4-year term, and one member shall be appointed to serve for a 6-year term” in the third sentence, and added the last sentence.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(c) 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(c) 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 § 1082 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).


§ 1–1162.04. Meetings.

(a) The Board shall hold regular monthly meetings in accordance with a schedule to be established by the Board. Additional meetings may be called as needed by the Board.

(b) The Board shall provide notice of meetings and shall conduct its meetings in compliance with subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 204, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(d), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.05. Compensation.

(a) Each member of the Board, excluding the Chairperson, shall receive compensation, as provided in § 1-611.08, while actually in the service of the Board, for a sum not to exceed $12,500 per annum.

(b) The Chairperson of the Board shall receive compensation, as provided in § 1-611.08, while actually in the service of the Board, for a sum not to exceed $26,500 per annum.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 205, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 1012(b), 63 DCR 10775; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(e), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.05a. Establishment of the Office of Government Ethics.

There is established within the Board an Office of Government Ethics. The Office of Government Ethics shall be headed by the Director of Government Ethics, who shall report directly to the Board.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 205a; as added Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(f), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.05b. Establishment of the Office of Open Government.

There is established within the Board an Office of Open Government to promote open governance in the District. The Office of Open Government shall be headed by the Director of Open Government, who shall report directly to the Board.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 205b; as added Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(f), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.05c. Director of Open Government.

(a) The Director of Open Government shall:

(1) Issue advisory opinions pursuant to § 2-579(g);

(2) Provide training related to the Open Meetings Act pursuant to § 2-580; and

(3) Pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to implement the provisions of the Open Meetings Act.

(b) The Office of Open Government may bring suit to enforce the Open Meetings Act pursuant to subchapter IV of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(c)(1) If an advisory opinion regarding the Open Meetings Act is issued by the Director of Open Government pursuant 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 Open Government issues an advisory opinion regarding the Open Meetings Act on his or her own initiative, any person aggrieved by the opinion may appeal the opinion for consideration by the Board.

(d) The Office of Open Government may issue advisory opinions on the implementation of subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 205c; as added Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(f), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.06. Professional staff.

(a)(1) The Board shall select, employ, and fix the compensation for a Director of Government Ethics, a Director of Open Government, and such staff as the Board considers necessary, subject to the pay limitations of § 1-611.16. The Director of Government Ethics and the Director of Open Government shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.

(2) Notwithstanding any other law, an employee assigned to:

(A) The Office of Government Ethics shall be under the Director of Government Ethics' direction and control and may not be transferred to the Office of Open Government without the concurrence of the Director of Government Ethics; and

(B) The Office of Open Government shall be under the Director of Open Government's direction and control and may not be transferred to the Office of Government Ethics without the concurrence of the Director of Open Government.

(b) The Director of Government Ethics and the Director of Open Government shall be District residents throughout their term and failure to maintain District residency shall result in forfeiture of the position.

(c) The staff of the Board shall be subject to the Code of Conduct, and the Board shall promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that all persons responsible for the proper administration of this subchapter maintain a position of strict impartiality and refrain from any activity that would imply support or opposition to a Board investigation.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 206, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(g), 65 DCR 9388.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1161.01.

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.07. Budget.

(a) The Director of Government Ethics and the Director of Open Government, with approval by the Board, shall prepare and submit to the Mayor, for inclusion in the annual budget of the District of Columbia under part D of subchapter IV of Chapter 2 of this title [§ 1-204.41 et seq.] for the year, annual estimates of the expenditures and appropriations necessary for the operation of their respective offices for the year. All such estimates shall be forwarded by the Mayor to the Council for its action pursuant to §§ 1-204.46 and 1-206.03(c), in addition to the Mayor’s recommendations.

(b) Before Fiscal Year 2013, upon the request of any member of the Board, the Mayor shall provide the Board with suitable office space in a publicly owned or leased building for the administration and enforcement of this subchapter. Furnishings, information technology services and equipment, and supplies to this office space shall also be provided upon request.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 207, 59 DCR 1862; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 3062, 64 DCR 7652; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(h), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(h) 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(h) 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 § 3062 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3062 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).


§ 1–1162.08. Quorum; delegation.

(a) A majority of the sitting members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

(b) The Board may delegate to an individual member or to the Director of Government Ethics its power to investigate or hold a hearing.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 208, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(i), 65 DCR 9388.)

Applicability

Section 1086(a) of D.C. D.C. Law 22-168 provided that the amendments made to this section by 1083(i)(1) of D.C. D.C. Law 22-168 shall apply as of August 30, 2018.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(i) 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(i) 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 of Ethics Board Quorum Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-160, Oct. 23, 2017, 64 DCR 10772).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Ethics Board Quorum Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-40, Jan. 17, 2018, 64 DCR 12304).


§ 1–1162.09. Rules.

(a) The Board, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this subchapter, including rules for the administration of preliminary investigations, formal investigations, and hearings related to violations of the Code of Conduct or other provisions of this subchapter.

(b)(1) The Board shall submit to the Council for its consideration proposed legislation amending §  1-1161.01(7) to establish a revised Code of Conduct, which shall be explicitly applicable to all employees and public officials serving the District of Columbia, its instrumentalities, subordinate and independent agencies, the Council of the District of Columbia, boards and commissions, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, but excluding the courts.

(2) The Board shall issue rules to implement the provisions of a comprehensive Code of Conduct established pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed disapproved.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 209, 59 DCR 1862; July 15, 2014, D.C. Law 20-122, § 2(c), 61 DCR 5688; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(j), 65 DCR 9388.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-122 rewrote the section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1083(j) 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(j) 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(c) of the Comprehensive Code of Conduct and BEGA Emergency Amendment Act of 2014, (D.C. Act 20-323, Apr. 28, 2014, 61 DCR 4681).


§ 1–1162.10. Ethics Fund.

(a) There is established as a special fund the Ethics Fund ("Fund"), which shall be administered by the Board in accordance with this section.

(b) Revenue from all fines collected under § 1-1162.21 and part E of this subchapter shall be deposited into the Fund.

(c) Money in the Fund shall be used for the operations and personnel of the Office of Government Ethics.

(d)(1) The money deposited into the Fund shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time.

(2) Subject to authorization in an approved budget and financial plan, any funds appropriated in the Fund shall be continually available without regard to fiscal year limitation.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 210, 59 DCR 1862; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(k), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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


§ 1–1162.10a. Open Government Fund.

(a) There is established as a special fund the Open Government Fund ("Fund"), which shall be administered by the Board in accordance with this section.

(b) Revenue from all fines collected pursuant to § 2-579 shall be deposited in the Fund.

(c) Money in the Fund shall be used for the operations and personnel of the Office of Open Government.

(d)(1) The money deposited into the Fund shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time.

(2) Subject to authorization in an approved budget and financial plan, any funds appropriated in the Fund shall be continually available without regard to fiscal year limitation.


(Apr. 27, 2012, D.C. Law 19-124, § 210a; as added Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 1083(l), 65 DCR 9388.)

Emergency Legislation

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