Complaints and Investigations

Filing a Complaint

Download the Complaint Form.

Who may file a complaint?

  • Any person; or
  • A member of the Commission. (KRS 6.686)

What action is the Commission required to take after a complaint is filed?

  • Within ten (10) days the Commission must send a copy of the complaint to the alleged violator.
  • Within ten (10) days after the Commission receives the alleged violator's answer or if the 20-day answer period expires without the alleged violator filing an answer, the Commission must initiate a preliminary inquiry. (KRS 6.686)

What constitutes a complaint?

  • A written statement;
  • Alleging a violation against one or more named persons;
  • Stating the essential facts constituting the violation charged;
  • Notarized and signed.

Is the person who is the subject of a complaint allowed to respond?

Yes. The Commission is required to afford the person an opportunity to respond. The person has twenty (20) days from the date that a copy of the complaint was served on the alleged violator to respond to the Commission. The filing of an answer is not required. The person has the right to be represented by counsel, to appear and be heard under oath, and to offer evidence in response to the allegations in the complaint. (KRS 6.686)


Commission Investigations Pursuant to the Filing of a Complaint

Are Commission investigations confidential?

All proceedings and records relating to a preliminary investigation are confidential until a final determination is made by the Commission.

There are two exceptions:

  1. The Commission may turn over to prosecutors, of appropriate jurisdiction (Attorney General, U. S. Attorney, Commonwealth's Attorney, or county attorney), evidence which may be used in criminal proceedings; and
  2. The Commission may publicly confirm the existence of an inquiry and provide any documents issued to either party, if a complainant or alleged violator publicly discloses the existence of a preliminary investigation. (KRS 6.686)

What occurs if the Commission determines facts are insufficient to constitute a violation of the Code?

The inquiry is immediately terminated, and both the complainant and the alleged violator are notified in writing.

The Commission may confidentially inform the alleged violator of potential violations and provide information to ensure future compliance with the law.

If the alleged violator publicly discloses the existence of such action by the Commission, the Commission may confirm the action and, in its discretion, make public any documents that were issued to the alleged violator. (KRS 6.686)

What occurs if the Commission finds probable cause to believe that a violation has been committed?

  1. The Commission is required to notify the alleged violator of the finding; and
  2. The Commission is permitted, upon majority vote, to:
    • Confidentially reprimand the alleged violator in writing when there are mitigating circumstances such as lack of significant economic advantage or gain by the alleged violator, lack of significant economic loss to the state, or lack of significant impact on public confidence in government. The Commission may provide a copy of the reprimand to the presiding officer of the house in which the alleged violator serves or to the violator's employer if the alleged violator is a legislative agent. The proceedings leading to a private reprimand and the reprimand itself shall remain confidential except if the alleged violator publicly discloses the existence of such an action, the Commission is permitted to confirm it and, in its discretion, make public any documents issued to the alleged violator; or
    • Initiate an adjudicatory proceeding to determine whether there has been a violation. (KRS 6.686)

Penalty For Filing False Complaints

Are there any penalties for filing false complaints?

Yes. Any person who knowingly files a false complaint regarding any legislator or other person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. (KRS 6.686)​​​