This is a brief overview of the Ethics Hotline. Other restrictions may apply. Please contact the Ethics Commission for guidance. Download PDF below.
About the Ethics Hotline
The Ethics Commission is required by law to enforce against violations of state and City laws relating to campaign financing, lobbying, governmental ethics, and conflicts of interests. Information about each of those areas of law is available at ethics.lacity.org.
The laws apply to persons who participate in City and Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education elections, including candidates, persons who make campaign contributions, and persons who spend money in an effort to influence an election. The laws also apply to elected and appointed City officials and employees, City lobbyists, City bidders and contractors, City developers, and others. Both individuals and entities are subject to the laws.
As part of its enforcement duties, the Ethics Commission is required to maintain a hotline through which possible violations of the laws may be reported. The Ethics Commission staff review every complaint received.
Filing a Complaint
The ethics hotline is available 24 hours a day online and by email, phone, mail, and fax. You may also file a complaint in person by visiting our office during regular business hours. Contact information is provided on the bottom of this page.
Please provide as much information as possible, including the following:
- A description of the conduct that may be improper.
- The dates and times the conduct occurred.
- The names and titles of the persons involved.
- The names of and contact information for potential witnesses.
- The laws you suspect have been violated.
- Any other information that you believe is relevant.
After receiving a complaint that contains sufficient information, the staff conducts an investigation. If warranted, a complaint may become an enforcement matter. Ultimately, the members of the Ethics Commission may determine that a violation occurred and assess administrative penalties up to the greater of $5,000 per violation or three times the amount of money that was improperly given, received, or reported.
Anonymity and Confidentiality
Complaints may be filed anonymously. However, we encourage you to provide some form of contact information, so that we can reach you if we need additional information.
All information you provide, including contact information, is confidential to the extent permitted by law. It is a violation of City law for an Ethics Commission employee to reveal information about a complaint or investigation, unless it is necessary to conduct the investigation or in the course of enforcement proceedings. Therefore, we neither confirm nor deny the receipt or existence of any complaint or investigation.
Not all activities that seem unethical actually violate a law within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. Some activities may violate a City department’s internal policy or a law that is not administered by the Ethics Commission. We may refer complaints outside our jurisdiction to the appropriate department or agency. We may also coordinate with other agencies when a com- plaint violates laws in more than one jurisdiction.
City officials and employees may not interfere with a person’s ability to report a potential violation to the Ethics Commission or another appropriate agency. They also may not retaliate against a person who has reported a potential violation. If you believe that you or someone you know has experienced retaliation, please contact us.
This is a brief overview of the Ethics Hotline.
If you have questions, please contact us for more information.
We are happy to help!