(a) Definition—(1) Ex parte communication means any material oral or written communication relevant to the merits of an adjudicatory proceeding that was neither on the record nor on reasonable prior notice to all parties that takes place between:
(i) An interested person outside the OCC (including such person's counsel); and
(ii) The administrative law judge handling that proceeding, the Comptroller, or a decisional employee.
(2) Exception. A request for status of the proceeding does not constitute an ex parte communication.
(b) Prohibition of ex parte communications. From the time the notice is issued by the Comptroller until the date that the Comptroller issues his or her final decision pursuant to § 19.40(c) :
(1) No interested person outside the OCC shall make or knowingly cause to be made an ex parte communication to the Comptroller, the administrative law judge, or a decisional employee; and
(2) The Comptroller, administrative law judge, or decisional employee shall not make or knowingly cause to be made to any interested person outside the OCC any ex parte communication.
(c) Procedure upon occurrence of ex parte communication. If an ex parte communication is received by the administrative law judge, the Comptroller or any other person identified in paragraph (a) of this section, that person shall cause all such written communications (or, if the communication is oral, a memorandum stating the substance of the communication) to be placed on the record of the proceeding and served on all parties. All other parties to the proceeding shall have an opportunity, within ten days of receipt of service of the ex parte communication, to file responses thereto and to recommend any sanctions, in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section, that they believe to be appropriate under the circumstances.
(d) Sanctions. Any party or his or her counsel who makes a prohibited ex parte communication, or who encourages or solicits another to make any such communication, may be subject to any appropriate sanction or sanctions imposed by the Comptroller or the administrative law judge including, but not limited to, exclusion from the proceedings and an adverse ruling on the issue which is the subject of the prohibited communication.
(e) Separation of functions. Except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law, the administrative law judge may not consult a person or party on any matter relevant to the merits of the adjudication, unless on notice and opportunity for all parties to participate. An employee or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for the OCC in a case may not, in that or a factually related case, participate or advise in the decision, recommended decision, or agency review of the recommended decision under § 19.40, except as witness or counsel in public proceedings.
[56 FR 38028, Aug. 9, 1991, as amended at 60 FR 30184, June 8, 1995]
Title 12 published on 2012-01-01
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