(a) The Commission may censure, suspend, or disbar any person who has practiced, is practicing or holding himself out as entitled to practice before it if it finds that such person:
(1) Does not possess the qualifications required by § 1.23 ;
(2) Has failed to conform to standards of ethical conduct required of practitioners at the bar of any court of which he is a member;
(3) Is lacking in character or professional integrity; and/or
(4) Displays toward the Commission or any of its hearing officers conduct which, if displayed toward any court of the United States or any of its Territories or the District of Columbia, would be cause for censure, suspension, or disbarment.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, before any member of the bar of the Commission shall be censured, suspended, or disbarred, charges shall be preferred by the Commission against such practitioner, and he or she shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard thereon.
(c) Upon receipt of official notice from any authority having power to suspend or disbar an attorney in the practice of law within any state, territory, or the District of Columbia which demonstrates that an attorney practicing before the Commission is subject to an order of final suspension (not merely temporary suspension pending further action) or disbarment by such authority, the Commission may, without any preliminary hearing, enter an order temporarily suspending the attorney from practice before it pending final disposition of a disciplinary proceeding brought pursuant to § 1.24(a)(2), which shall afford such attorney an opportunity to be heard and directing the attorney to show cause within thirty days from the date of said order why identical discipline should not be imposed against such attorney by the Commission.
(d) Allegations of attorney misconduct in Commission proceedings shall be referred under seal to the Office of General Counsel. Pending action by the General Counsel, the decision maker may proceed with the merits of the matter but in its decision may make findings concerning the attorney's conduct only if necessary to resolve questions concerning an applicant and may not reach any conclusions regarding the ethical ramifications of the attorney's conduct. The General Counsel will determine if the allegations are substantial, and, if so, shall immediately notify the attorney and direct him or her to respond to the allegations. No notice will be provided to other parties to the proceeding. The General Counsel will then determine what further measures are necessary to protect the integrity of the Commission's administrative process, including but not limited to one or more of the following:
(1) Recommending to the Commission the institution of a proceeding under paragraph (a) of this section;
(2) Referring the matter to the appropriate State, territorial, or District of Columbia bar; or
(3) Consulting with the Department of Justice.
[28 FR 12415, Nov. 22, 1963, as amended at 57 FR 38285, Aug. 24, 1992; 60 FR 53277, Oct. 13, 1995]
Title 47 published on 2012-10-01
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