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FYI 7: Letter Rulings

 

When someone who is not a public officer or employee wants to inquire whether his or her activity might violate ethics laws, that person may request a Letter Ruling.  Letter Rulings are most often requested by organizations or individuals who lobby the legislature, conduct business with a government agency, or organizations that invite public officials to take part in a conference, tour or meeting. Former public employees may also request a letter ruling regarding his or her post-government employment.

A Letter Ruling carries with it an entitlement of confidentiality for the requestor;  the identity and identifying information of the requestor is allowed to be kept confidential – the request (with the name and identifying information redacted) and the decision are public records, however.  Requestors of Letter Rulings may waive confidentiality.  As with Advisory Opinions, Letter Rulings are specific to a particular set of facts, and should not necessarily be relied on by others since the facts may be different.  

To request a Letter Ruling, send a letter or email to the Executive Director outlining the facts and circumstances of the issue.