- State Officers & Employees
The Ethics Commission was created by a vote of the people on state question 627 at the runoff primary election on September 18, 1990. SQ 627 added Article 29 to the Oklahoma Constitution. The Commission's first meeting was in July of 1991.
The Oklahoma Constitution charges the Ethics Commission with promulgating and enforcing rules of ethical conduct (1) for campaigns for state office, (2) for campaigns for state questions and (3) for state officers and employees. Ethics Rules have the full force and effect of statutes and are published in Oklahoma Statutes at Title 74, Chapter 62, Appendix 1. The Constitution provides a modified law making process for the Ethics Rules. The Commission drafts and approves proposed rules and submits those Rules to the Governor and the Legislature each year. If the rules are not formally rejected by a process specified in the Constitution, they become effective at the end of the regular legislative session at which they were considered.
Each of the three branches of government is represented through appointments to the Commission with no branch having a majority of members. Commissioners are appointed to staggered five year terms by the Governor, Attorney General, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Commissioners are limited to serving two terms. No more than three Commissioners may be from the same political party and each represents one of the state's five congressional districts.
The Commission enforces its rules using two different enforcement methods. First, the Commission may initiate investigations into alleged Rule violations which may be prosecuted as civil lawsuits in District Court or by entering into settlement agreements. Second, the Executive Director may issue Compliance Orders for the purpose of gaining Compliance with the Rules. These Orders may direct action or payment of a compliance fee, including late filing fees, of up to $1,000. Any entity receiving a Compliance Order may request a hearing before an administrative law judge.