§ 111.22 Ex parte communications.

  1. a. (a) In order to avoid the possibility of prejudice, real or apparent, to the public interest in enforcement actions pending before the Commission pursuant to 11 CFR part 111, except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as required by law (for example, during the normal course of an investigation or a conciliation effort), no interested person outside the agency shall make or cause to be made to any Commissioner or any member of any Commissioner's staff any ex parte communication relative to the factual or legal merits of any enforcement action, nor shall any Commissioner or member of any Commissioner's staff make or entertain any such ex parte communications.

  2. b. (b) The prohibition of this regulation shall apply from the time a complaint is filed with the Commission pursuant to 11 CFR part 111 or from the time that the Commission determines on the basis of information ascertained in the normal course of its supervisory responsibilities that it has reason to believe that a violation has occurred or may occur pursuant to 11 CFR part 111, and remains in force until the Commission has finally concluded all action with respect to the enforcement matter in question.

  3. c. (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit contact between a respondent or respondent's attorney and any attorney or staff member of the Office of General Counsel in the course of representing the Commission or the respondent with respect to an enforcement proceeding or civil action. No statement made by such a Commission attorney or staff member during any such communication shall bind or estop the Commission in any way.