Iowa Admin. Code r. 653-25.21 - Ex parte communication

(1) Prohibited communications. Unless required for the disposition of ex parte matters specifically authorized by statute, following issuance of the statement of charges, there shall be no communication, directly or indirectly, between the presiding officer and any party or representative of any party or any other person with a direct or indirect interest in such case in connection with any issue of fact or law in the case except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate. Nothing in this provision is intended to preclude board members from communicating with other board members or members of the board staff, other than those with a personal interest in, or those engaged in personally investigating as defined in subrule 25.8(2), prosecuting, or advocating in, either the case under consideration or a pending factually related case involving the same parties, as long as those persons do not directly or indirectly communicate to the presiding officer any ex parte communications they have received of a type that the presiding officer would be prohibited from receiving or that furnish, augment, diminish, or modify the evidence in the record.
(2) Prohibitions on ex parte communications commence with the issuance of the statement of charges in a contested case and continue for as long as the case is pending before the board.
(3) Written, oral or other forms of communication are "ex parte" if made without notice and opportunity for all parties to participate.
(4) To avoid prohibited ex parte communications, notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give all parties a fair opportunity to participate. Notice of written communications shall be provided in compliance with rule 653-25.11 (17A) and may be supplemented by telephone, facsimile, electronic mail or other means of notification. Where permitted, oral communications may be initiated through conference telephone call including all parties or their representatives.
(5) Persons who jointly act as presiding officer in a pending contested case may communicate with each other without notice or opportunity for parties to participate to the extent necessary to carry out their function as presiding officer.
(6) The executive director or director of legal affairs may be present during deliberations as long as that person is not disqualified from participating under rule 653-25.8 (17A). The executive director or director of legal affairs shall not attempt to influence the board's decision in the proceeding.
(7) Communications with the presiding officer involving uncontested scheduling or procedural matters do not require notice or opportunity for parties to participate. Parties should notify other parties prior to initiating such contact with the presiding officer when feasible, and shall notify other parties when seeking to continue hearings or other deadlines pursuant to rule 653-25.16 (17A).
(8) Disclosure of prohibited communications. A presiding officer who receives a prohibited ex parte communication during the contested case process must initially determine if the effect of the communication is so prejudicial that the presiding officer should be disqualified.
a. If the presiding officer determines that disqualification is warranted, a copy of any prohibited written communication, all written responses to the communication, a written summary stating the substance of any prohibited oral or other communication not available in written form for disclosure, all responses made, and the identity of each person from whom the presiding officer received a prohibited ex parte communication shall be submitted for inclusion in the record under seal by protective order.
b. If the presiding officer determines that disqualification is not warranted, such documents shall be submitted for inclusion in the record and served on all parties. Any party desiring to rebut the prohibited communication must be allowed the opportunity to do so upon written request filed within ten days after notice of the communication.
(9) Promptly after being assigned to serve as presiding officer at any stage in a contested case proceeding, a presiding officer shall disclose to all parties material factual information received through ex parte communication prior to such assignment, unless the factual information has already been or shortly will be disclosed pursuant to Iowa Code section 17A. 13 (2) or through discovery. Factual information contained in an investigative report or similar document need not be separately disclosed by the presiding officer as long as such documents have been or will shortly be provided to the parties.
(10) The presiding officer may render a proposed or final decision imposing appropriate sanctions for violations of this rule including default, a decision against the offending party, censure, or suspension or revocation of the privilege to practice before the board. Violation of ex parte communication prohibitions by board personnel shall be reported to the board and its executive director for possible sanctions including censure, suspension, dismissal, or other disciplinary action.


Iowa Admin. Code r. 653-25.21

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