Commission on Ethics Opinions
The Nevada Commission on Ethics interprets and enforces the Nevada Ethics in Government Law set forth in NRS Chapter 281A through Requests for Opinions ("RFOs").
First-Party Request for Advisory Opinion
Under NRS 281A.440(1) or 281A.550(6), any public officer or employee may request a confidential advisory opinion (First-Party RFO) from the Commission regarding the applicability of his or her circumstances under the provisions of the Ethics in Government Law, including whether his or her specific circumstances constitute a conflict of interest and what course of action the public officer or employee should pursue in his or her official capacity as a result of a conflict of interest.
If the Commission has jurisdiction regarding the RFO, it may hold a hearing and must render an opinion in the matter. After reviewing the matter and/or holding a hearing, the Commission will issue a final written opinion. A First-Party RFO is confidential unless waived by the public officer or employee. If the public officer or employee waives the confidentiality of the RFO and/or the final opinion, the Commission will publish the written opinion on its Website and the Nevada Law Library published by the Nevada Legislature. If the public officer or employee elects to maintain the confidentiality of the matter, the Commission will issue and publish an Abstract Opinion, which is a version of the final opinion which redacts and/or sanitizes the opinion to ensure that the identity of the requester remains protected. First-Party RFOs and related opinions are binding on the requester's future conduct.
Third-Party Request for Opinion (Complaint)
Pursuant to NRS 281A.440(2), any member of the public may file a request for opinion (complaint) against a public officer or employee alleging a violation of the Ethics Law (Third-Party RFO). If the Commission has jurisdiction regarding the RFO, it will conduct an investigation. If just and sufficient cause has been established from the investigation, the Commission will conduct a hearing and render an opinion in the matter. The Commission will issue and publish a final written opinion on its Website and the Nevada Law Library published by the Nevada Legislature. All Third-Party RFOs remain confidential until the conclusion of the investigation, but the investigatory file of the Commission remains confidential. Therefore, the Commission is statutorily unable to confirm or deny the filing of a complaint unless and until an investigation is undertaken and completed.
All final opinions are published on the Commission's Website and the Nevada Law Library published by the Nevada Legislature. All opinions serve as Commission precedent for similarly situated public officers and employees. Opinions are published by the year in which they are received by the Commission. Final opinions may take the form of stipulations, agreed settlements and consent orders (NRS 281A.465).
Public officers and employees are statutorily entitled to safe-harbor protection from a willful violation of the Ethics in Government Law for good faith reliance on legal counsel elected or appointed to represent the public agency if the legal advice is provided in advance of any conduct and in compliance with published opinions of the Ethics Commission (NRS 281A.480(5)).