(a) Investigation. Upon the receipt of a properly filed ethics complaint, the Ethics Review Board shall proceed with an investigation in the following manner:
(1) Conduct a formal meeting with the complainant.
(2) If agreed to by the respondent, conduct a formal meeting with the respondent.
(3) Issue subpoenas for any necessary witnesses or documents, as required.
(4) Interview witnesses for the complainant first and next the respondent, and review documents subpoenaed or provided by the parties.
(5) Determine the sufficiency of the ethics complaint.
(6) If the ethics complaint is determined to be sufficient, schedule a formal ethics complaint hearing that is open to the public. The Ethics Review Board shall produce a written decision of any findings and conclusions of the hearing. The hearing shall ensure minimum standards of due process are met, including:
(A) Not less than 10 days’ written notice to the respondent of the hearing and any alleged violation;
(B) A brief opening statement and closing argument by the respondent;
(C) The presentation of relevant documentary or testimonial evidence by the respondent;
(D) The ability of the respondent to confront and cross-examine any adverse witnesses;
(E) Any written decisions are based on a preponderance of the evidence; and
(F) The respondent is provided a copy of the written decision within 30 days of the hearing.
(b) Council Member Representation During Proceedings. A Council member may be represented by independent counsel or an advocate in Ethics Review Board proceedings and such representative shall be permitted to speak for the Council member at the Council member’s request.
(c) Board Member Conflict of Interest. Ethics Review Board members who have a conflict of interest in an ethics complaint brought before the Ethics Review Board must immediately recuse themselves and shall not participate in the investigation of the formal ethics hearing. Failure of an Ethics Review Board member to recuse themselves due to a conflict of interest shall constitute grounds for immediate removal from the Ethics Review Board for the instant matter.
(d) False, Frivolous, Malicious, or Insufficient Complaint. The Ethics Review Board shall dismiss any ethics complaint it determines to be frivolous, false, or filed with malicious intent. The Board shall notify both the complainant and the respondent of the Board’s determination and may take any necessary and appropriate action under this chapter and Tribal laws, policies, and regulations to remedy the situation. Filing a false, frivolous, or malicious ethics complaint may subject the person filing the complaint to civil suit in Tribal Court by the elected official who is the subject of such a complaint. The Board shall dismiss frivolous, false, and malicious complaints with prejudice. The Board has discretion to dismiss an insufficient complaint with or without prejudice.
(e) Retaliation Prohibited. If, during the course of or after the investigation or hearing, the respondent retaliates against the complainant in any manner, the complainant shall immediately notify the Ethics Review Board in writing and describe the form of retaliation. Upon determining that retaliation has occurred, the Ethics Review Board shall take necessary and appropriate action under this chapter and Tribal laws, policies, and regulations.