What is a complaint?
A complaint is a written request asking the Louisiana Board of Ethics to conduct an investigation that a person may have violated a law under its jurisdiction. (For example: The brother of the mayor of the Village of Tanuck entered into a contract with the village.)
Complaints are confidential and privileged. Neither the Board of Ethics nor its staff are allowed to provide information to the public about such. However, if the Board of Ethics refers a person to investigation, that person is given written notice of the investigation, which includes a copy of the complaint (sworn or non-sworn), with the name and address of the complainant redacted. Please note, that staff may not be able to redact all identifying information from the body of the complaint, so the complainant should avoid including any such identifying information, if they do not want their identity as the complainant revealed to the respondent.
Who may submit a complaint?
Any person who is an resident of the State of Louisiana.
What must be included in the complaint?
How do you submit a request for a complaint?
- Name and address of the person submitting the complaint. The complainant should also include contact information, such as a telephone number or email address, in the event additional information is needed.
- Information in the body of the complaint should include the following:
- Concise statement of the action that one believes violates a law under the Board of Ethics’ jurisdiction;
- The governmental agency involved;
- The name of the person, and a description of their actions, the complainant believes violated a provision of law under the Board of Ethics’ jurisdiction; and
- Any documents, as well as the names and contact information of witnesses, to support the complainant’s allegation.
It may be in a letter-format addressed to the Louisiana Board of Ethics, which may submitted by:
What is the complaint process?
- Mail – P. O. Box 4368, Baton Rouge, LA 70821;
- Fax – 225/381-7271;
- Upload – Send in a PDF file format through the Ethics File Upload website; or
- Hand-delivered – 617 North Third Street, 10th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
- Once the complaint is received, it is assigned to a staff attorney and will be included on the executive agenda for consideration by the Board of Ethics, which is not open to the public. Following is a link to Board of Ethics’ schedule of meetings: https://ethics.la.gov/BoardMeetings.aspx.
- The complainant will receive an acknowledgment letter, which will provide them with the docket number assigned to their complaint and the anticipated meeting date at which it will be considered by the Board of Ethics. If the complainant has questions about their submission or wishes to submit additional information, they should reference the docket number assigned to the matter.
- Sworn complaint v. non-sworn complaint.
- A sworn complaint shall be considered by the Board of Ethics and includes the complainant’s signature and oath attesting to the truthfulness of the statements contained in the complaint, along with a notary’s signature. The person who submits a sworn complaint receives a copy of the notice of the investigation that is sent to the subject of the complaint, in the event an investigation is opened.
- A non-sworn complaint may be considered by the Board of Ethics upon their vote. The person who submits a non-sworn complaint only receives notice of the final disposition of their complaint.
- To refer a matter to investigation based on information in a non-sworn complaint requires the vote of at least eight members of the Ethics Board.
- The purpose of the investigation is to gather facts, which includes obtaining documents and statements from witnesses. An investigation report is compiled and presented back to the Board of Ethics to determine whether a violation of one of the laws under the jurisdiction of the Board of Ethics has occurred and what enforcement action, if any, should be taken. The Board of Ethics may file charges, impose fines, or seek other administrative remedies for violations of law. The complainant is notified of the final decision of the Board of Ethics within 10 days of its meeting.
- For sworn complaints, the investigation must be completed within one year of receipt of complaint. For non-sworn complaints, the investigation must be completed within one year of the Ethics Board’s vote to refer the matter to investigation. These time periods can be extended by agreement of the person(s) subject to the investigation.