Steps to file a Complaint

Steps to file a Complaint
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Overview

Any person may file a complaint with the Commission.  The complaint should identify the individual or entity (respondent) alleged to have violated the law, include any facts or evidence that allege a violation of State ethics laws in Public Officers Law § 73, § 73-a, § 74, the "Little Hatch Act" in Civil Service Law § 107, or the "Lobbying Act" in Legislative Law Article 1-A, be based substantially on the complainant's firsthand knowledge, and contain facts constituting an alleged violation of the laws above. 

A complaint does not need to be sworn. A sworn complaint shall contain a statement sworn or affirmed before an attesting officer that the individual is the complainant and that the foregoing complaint is true to his or her own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated to be alleged upon information and belief and as to those matters he or she believes it to be true.

Complaint Requirements

A complaint must be written and shall conform to the following format:
  • The complaint must identify the complainant and the respondent.
  • The complainant's address must be reflected on the complaint as well as a telephone number.  
  • The complaint may be sworn to under oath or affirmed before an attesting officer.  
  • The complaint must contain a statement of the facts concerning the alleged violation(s) and should state, insofar as known, the date, time, and place of any alleged violation. 
  • The complaint must allege facts constituting a violation of Public Officers Law § 73, § 73-a, § 74, Civil Service Law § 107, or Legislative Law Article 1-A. 
  • The complainant should include copies of any documentation or exhibits in his or her possession at the time the complaint is filed to support the allegations contained in the complaint. 
  • The intentional submission of false information may constitute a crime punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both.

Confidentiality

A complaint, upon filing, becomes a confidential record of the Commission and remains so unless and until the Commission concludes there was a violation of the above law(s) and issues a Substantial Basis Investigation Report ("SBIR") alleging such violation. At such time, the complaint or facts therein may be made part of the Substantial Basis Investigation Report which may become a public document pursuant to Executive Law § 94(19)(a)(6).

Complaint Form