Ethics Law Enforcement
Filing a Complaint
Anyone may file a complaint with the Commission alleging a violation of the Public Ethics Law by an employee, official or lobbyist. Please note that information related to the complaint, including the identity of the complainant and respondent, may not be disclosed by the Commission, its staff, the respondent or the complainant.
The Public Ethics law requires that a complaint be in writing and signed under oath. The Office of Attorney General has advised the oath requirement mandates that a complaint be notarized. In addition, a complaint should include the following:
- The name, address and telephone number of the person making the complaint
- The name, title and address of the employee, official or lobbyist the complaint is against
- A concise description of the conduct or action which demonstrates that the employee, official or lobbyist violated the Public Ethics Law
- Copies of any and all documents supporting the allegations. Please note: documents will not be returned, so please retain the originals and send copies to the Commission
- A complaint may be mailed or hand-delivered. Complaints sent by e-mail or facsimile will not be accepted
Persons wishing to file a complaint against a State Official for unlawful harassment or discrimination should refer to the Commission’s memorandum entitled Implementation of Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Provision for guidance.
Other Units of Government Administering the Public Ethics Law
Complaints alleging violations of the Public Ethics Law by judges should be filed with the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.
Complaints alleging violations of the Public Ethics Law by members of the General Assembly, other than those related to financial disclosure statements, should be filed with the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. Dea Daly, Ethics Counsel 410–946–5200
Criminal violations of the Public Ethics Law should be referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor.
County and Municipal Government
The Commission does not have jurisdiction over county, municipal or school board officials and employees and cannot accept complaints against those individuals. Similarly, it does not act as an appellate body for matters heard before local ethics boards or commissions or ethics panels. Complaints against those individuals should be directed to the county or municipal ethics board or commission or the school board ethics panel.
While all counties are required to have an ethics law, and all school boards are required to have ethics regulations, the Public Ethics Law does not require small municipalities to adopt an ethics law. You can check to see if your municipality has an ethics law: Municipal Corporations with Local Ethics Provisions
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I file a complaint regarding housing or employment discrimination?
A. Maryland Commission on Civil Rights
Q. How do I file a complaint against an attorney?
A. Attorney Grievance Commission
Q. How do I file a consumer complaint?
A. Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division
Q. How do I file a complaint regarding a violation of the Maryland Open Meeting Act?
A. Office of the Attorney General, Open Meeting Compliance Board
Q. How do I contact the Governor?
A. Office of the Governor
PLEASE NOTE: The following form is to report harassment and discrimination by State officials and should only be submitted if you are: (1) a State official or State employee; (2) an intern, page, or fellow; (3) a regulated lobbyist; or (4) a credentialed member of the press. Under the Maryland Public Ethics Law, you must be a member of one of these 4 protected categories (or an individual submitting a complaint on behalf of someone in one of these 4 categories) for the State Ethics Commission to have jurisdiction to hear your complaint. For all other complaints concerning harassment and discrimination, please contact the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
Procedures and form for filing complaint for harassment and discrimination