Explanation. An ex parte communication is an oral or written communication between a decision-making official of the Board and an interested party to a proceeding, when that communication is made without providing the other parties to the appeal with a chance to participate. Not all ex parte communications are prohibited. Those that involve the merits of the case, or those that violate rules requiring submissions to be in writing, are prohibited. Accordingly, interested parties may ask about such matters as the status of a case, when it will be heard, and methods of submitting evidence to the Board. Parties may not ask about matters such as what defense they should use or whether their evidence is adequate, and they may not make a submission orally if that submission is required to be made in writing.