U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 10, 2022
(a) For the purposes of this section, ex parte communication means any oral or written communication not on the public record with respect to which reasonable prior notice to all interested parties is not given, but which shall not include requests for status reports (including requests on procedural matters) on a proceeding.
(b) At no stage of the proceeding following the issuance of a notice of hearing and prior to the issuance of the Secretary's decision thereon shall an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decision process of the proceeding discuss ex parte the merits of the proceeding with any person having an interest in the proceeding or with any representative of such person. This prohibition does not include communications about:
(1) Procedural matters and status reports.
(2) The merits of the proceeding if all parties known to be interested in the proceeding have been given notice and an opportunity to participate. A memorandum of any such discussion shall be included in the record of the proceeding.
(c) No interested person outside the Department shall make or knowingly cause to be made to an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding, an ex parte communication relevant to the merits of the proceeding except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.
(d) If an employee of the Department who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding receives or makes or knowingly causes to be made a communication prohibited by this section, the Department shall place on the public record of the proceeding:
(1) All such written communications;
(2) Memoranda stating the substance of all such oral communications; and
(3) All written responses, and memoranda, stating the substance of all oral responses thereto.
(e) Upon receipt of a communication knowingly made or knowingly caused to be made by a party in violation of this section, the Department may, to the extent consistent with the interest of justice and the policy of the underlying statute, require the party to show cause why his claim or interest in the proceeding should not be dismissed, denied, disregarded, or otherwise adversely affected on account of such violation.
(f) This section does not constitute authority to withhold information from Congress.