Public Ethics Commission
The Public Ethics Commission (PEC) conducts investigations, holds public hearings, issues subpoenas, and imposes fines and penalties as provided for by ordinance. City ordinances give the Commission the authority to impose penalties for violations of ethics laws, campaign finance laws, and lobbyist registration requirements. The Commission also can mediate or recommend “cure and correction” for violations of public records and open meetings laws, respectively.
The trend for the last several years shows an increase in incoming complaints and caseload. In 2020, Commission staff received or initiated a total of 42 allegations of potential violations. The total number of allegations reviewed or initiated in 2020 broke down as follows: Commission staff received 39 formal complaints submitted by members of the public alleging violations of campaign finance, conflicts of interest, open meetings, public records, and other ethics-related laws; PEC staff opened three cases proactively based on hearing or reading of suspicious activities, receiving anonymous tips, or obtaining information from third parties.
In 2020, the Commission resolved 44 cases and imposed $23,000 in fines(penalties). The 44 cases the Commission closed in 2020 were resolved as follows: Three fines, $23,0 00 in total penalties Five mediations completed (Public Records Requests) 36 complaints dismissed for lack of PEC jurisdiction, insufficient evidence that suggests any violation, or no violation following an investigation.
The Commission’s Mediation program seeks to resolve matters between any person whose request to the City of Oakland to inspect or copy public records has been denied, delayed or not completely fulfilled. In 2020, Enforcement staff received a total 19 requests for mediation and closed a total of five mediation cases.
About the Public Ethics Commission
The Public Ethics Commission is an independent commission made up of Oakland residents and charged with ensuring fairness, openness, honesty and integrity in Oakland City government. Our objective is to make sure Oakland public officials and government decision-making processes operate in a fair and unbiased manner, to promote transparency in Oakland government, and to promote public trust in our local political system.