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Oversight | Ethics Commissions and Committees

Oversight | Ethics Commissions and Committees

COMMISSION POWERS AND DUTIES

us map The powers and duties of ethics commissions include a variety of responsibilities. This chart shows statutory powers and duties of ethics commissions, including the authority to develop forms and manuals, examine reports, monitor compliance, subpoena witnesses, issue advisory opinions, and conduct  training.

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COMMITTEE POWERS AND DUTIES

legislative chamberInternal ethics committees are an important way for legislatures to solidify their credibility with the public. Forty states, listed in this chart, have some semblance of a legislative ethics committee. These committees have many of the same powers as ethics commissions.

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DATABASE OF ETHICS COMMISSIONS

search keyForty-two states have established ethics commission in statute or the constitution. Nine states have more than one commission overseeing different branches of government. Visit our database to view comprehensive data on state ethics commissions, including contact information and state profiles.

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JURISDICTION

us map State ethics commission jurisdictions varies among the states, which can include legislators, executive branch officials, candidates, local officials, lobbyists and vendors. This chart delineates the various jurisdictions.

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OVERVIEW | ETHICS COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES

Almost all states provide external oversight of their ethics laws through an ethics commission established in statute or in the constitution. In the states that do not have ethics commissions, oversight is provided through other state agencies such as the secretary of state or the office of the attorney general. Additionally, almost all state legislatures have some semblance of an ethics committee, which provides internal oversight on ethics rules and laws.

Ethics commissions represent the public’s interest and have a similar purpose: to ensure that groups under their jurisdiction follow state ethics laws. As regulatory entities, ethics commissions have various powers and duties, including investigating complaints of violations of ethics laws, providing advisory opinions to individuals under the commission’s jurisdiction, and offering ethics training. Many commissions have the power to prosecute and/or levy sanctions on the offender.

Ethics committees also ensure compliance with laws and rules and perform many of the same functions as commissions. Most committees only have jurisdiction over the legislature, but a few oversee lobbyist activities. Nearly all committees are composed of legislators only, making it imperative that committee members uphold the public’s trust.

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