16 CFR § 4.7 - Ex parte communications.
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, ex parte communication means an oral or written communication not on the public record with respect to which reasonable prior notice to all parties is not given, but it shall not include requests for status reports on any matter or proceeding.
(b) Prohibited ex parte communications. While a proceeding is in adjudicative status within the Commission, except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law:
(1) No person not employed by the Commission, and no employee or agent of the Commission who performs investigative or prosecuting functions in adjudicative proceedings, shall make or knowingly cause to be made to any member of the Commission, or to the Administrative Law Judge, or to any other employee who is or who reasonably may be expected to be involved in the decisional process in the proceeding, an ex parte communciation relevant to the merits of that or a factually related proceeding; and
(2) No member of the Commission, the Administrative Law Judge, or any other employee who is or who reasonably may be expected to be involved in the decisional process in the proceeding, shall make or knowingly cause to be made to any person not employed by the Commission, or to any employee or agent of the Commission who performs investigative or prosecuting functions in adjudicative proceedings, an ex parte communication relevant to the merits of that or a factually related proceeding.
(c) Procedures. A Commissioner, the Administrative Law Judge or any other employee who is or who may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process who receives or who make or knowingly causes to be made, a communication prohibited by paragraph (b) of this section shall promptly provide to the Secretary of the Commission:
(1) All such written communications;
(2) Memoranda stating the substance of and circumstances of all such oral communications; and
(3) All written responses, and memoranda stating the substance of all oral responses, to the materials described in paragraphs (c) (1) and (2) of this section. The Secretary shall make relevant portions of any such materials part of the public record of the Commission, pursuant to § 4.9, and place them in the docket binder of the proceeding to which it pertains, but they will not be considered by the Commission as part of the record for purposes of decision unless introduced into evidence in the proceeding. The Secretary shall also send copies of the materials to or otherwise notify all parties to the proceeding.
(1) Upon receipt of an ex parte communication knowingly made or knowingly caused to be made by a party and prohibited by paragraph (b) of this section, the Commission, Administrative Law Judge, or other employee presiding over the proceeding may, to the extent consistent with the interests of justice and the policy of the underlying statutes administered by the Commission, require the party to show cause why his claim or interest in the proceeding should not be dismissed, denied, disregarded, or otherwise adversely affected on account of such violation. The Commission may take such action as it considers appropriate, including but not limited to, action under § 4.1(e)(2) and 5 U.S.C. 556(d).
(2) A person, not a party to the proceeding who knowingly makes or causes to be made an ex parte communication prohibited by paragraph (b) of this section shall be subject to all sanctions provided herein if he subsequently becomes a party to the proceeding.
(e) The prohibitions of this section shall apply in an adjudicative proceeding from the time the Commission votes to issue a complaint pursuant to § 3.11, to conduct adjudicative hearings pursuant to § 3.13, or to issue an order to show cause pursuant to § 3.72(b), or from the time an order by a U.S. court of appeals remanding a Commission decision and order for further proceedings becomes effective, until the time the Commission votes to enter its decision in the proceeding and the time permitted by § 3.55 to seek reconsideration of that decision has elapsed. For purposes of this section, an order of remand by a U.S. court of appeals shall be deemed to become effective when the Commission determines not to file a petition for a writ of certiorari, or when the time for filing such a petition has expired without a petition having been filed, or when such a petition has been denied. If a petition for reconsideration of a Commission decision is filed pursuant to § 3.55, the provisions of this section shall apply until the time the Commission votes to enter an order disposing of the petition. In addition, the prohibitions of this section shall apply with respect to communications concerning an application for stay filed with the Commission pursuant to § 3.56 from the time that the application is filed until its disposition.
(f) The prohibitions of paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to a communication occasioned by and concerning a nonadjudicative function of the Commission, including such functions as the initiation, conduct, or disposition of a separate investigation, the issuance of a complaint, or the initiation of a rulemaking or other proceeding, whether or not it involves a party already in an adjudicative proceeding; preparations for judicial review of a Commission order; a proceeding outside the scope of § 3.2, including a matter in state or federal court or before another governmental agency; a nonadjudicative function of the Commission, including but not limited to an obligation under § 4.11 or a communication with Congress; or the disposition of a consent settlement under § 3.25 concerning some or all of the charges involved in a complaint and executed by some or all respondents. The Commission, at its discretion and under such restrictions as it may deem appropriate, may disclose to the public or to respondent(s) in a pending adjudicative proceeding a communication made exempt by this paragraph from the prohibitions of paragraph (b) of this section, however, when the Commission determines that the interests of justice would be served by the disclosure. The prohibitions of paragraph (b) of this section also do not apply to a communication between any member of the Commission, the Administrative Law Judge, or any other employee who is or who reasonably may be expected to be involved in the decisional process, and any employee who has been directed by the Commission or requested by an individual Commissioner or Administrative Law Judge to assist in the decision of the adjudicative proceeding. Such employee shall not, however, have performed an investigative or prosecuting function in that or a factually related proceeding.