The San Francisco Charter gives the Ethics Commission the authority to provide two kinds of advice: written formal opinions and informal advice. Written formal opinions are available to individuals who request advice about their responsibilities under local law. Formal opinions provide the requester immunity from subsequent enforcement action if the material facts are as stated in the request for advice, and if the District Attorney and City Attorney concur in the advice. Formal opinions prepared by staff must be approved by the full Commission. Informal advice does not provide similar protection.

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