The Executive Director and the respondent may negotiate a settlement intended to resolve the enforcement action at any time. The settlement is generally memorialized in a Stipulation, Decision and Order, which generally requires the respondent to pay an administrative fine or take other remedial action. In order to take effect, the settlement must be approved by the full Ethics Commission.
If approved by the Commission, the settlement resolves all legal and factual issues in the complaint against the respondent. As part of the settlement, the respondent must agree to give up their right to any administrative hearings in front of the Commission.
If a settlement is approved, the Commission will take no further action on the complaint other than to ensure compliance with the settlement terms. If the settlement is not approved, the Enforcement Division may continue the enforcement action (e.g. renegotiate a different settlement, prepare for probable cause proceedings etc.).
In any settled matter, the Commission may reopen the complaint if the respondent doesn’t comply with the terms of the Stipulation, Decision and Order.