Contacting the Committee
Committee staff is available by telephone at (202) 224-2981, or in person at 220 Hart Senate Office Building.
Written inquiries should be addressed to:
Chairman Christopher A. Coons and Vice Chairman James Lankford
Senate Select Committee on Ethics
220 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Fax: (202) 224-7416
An important part of the Committee’s work is providing advice to Senate Members and staff concerning the application of Senate Rules, federal law, and related standards of conduct within the Committee’s jurisdiction to a specific factual situation pertinent to the individual seeking advice. Contact with the Committee about proposed conduct is welcomed and encouraged. The Committee’s aim is to prevent violations by being freely accessible to provide prospective advice.
The Committee is unique in the Senate as it is the only committee with equal membership of both parties. The entire Committee staff is non-partisan.
The Committee also provides guidance to outside organizations and individuals on certain matters, including events and travel offered to Senate Members, officers, and employees. However, the Committee must always give priority to inquiries from Senate Members, officers, and employees. Prior to contacting the Committee with any question, individuals outside the Senate should carefully review the applicable materials provided here on the Committee’s website.
Outside entities or individuals who wish to invite Senate personnel to attend an event are not required to seek guidance from the Committee unless the event involves privately sponsored travel. However, Committee staff are available to provide guidance to outside entities or individuals regarding their particular event. For more information, see Gifts.
If an outside entity or individual wishes to pay for Senate personnel to travel to an event outside of their official duty station, each Senate traveler must receive prior written approval from the Committee. A complete pre-travel package must be submitted to the Committee by each Senate invitee at least 30 days prior to the trip. For more information, see Travel.
The Rules of Procedure of the Select Committee on Ethics provide the framework for the Committee’s investigation of allegations of misconduct by Members, officers, or employees of the Senate.
Rule 2 of the Supplementary Procedural Rules (Part II of the Rules of Procedure of the Select Committee on Ethics) provides that “[a]ny member or staff member of the Committee shall report to the Committee, and any other person may report to the Committee, a sworn complaint or other allegation or information, alleging that any Senator, or officer, or employee of the Senate has violated a law, the Senate Code of Official Conduct, or any rule or regulation of the Senate relating to the conduct of any individual in the performance of his or her duty as a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate, or has engaged in improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate. Such complaints or allegations or information may be reported to the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, a Committee member, or a Committee staff member.
Complaints, allegations, and information to be reported to the Committee may be obtained from a variety of sources, including but not limited to the following: (1) sworn complaints, defined as a written statement of facts, submitted under penalty of perjury, within the personal knowledge of the complainant alleging a violation of law, the Senate Code of Official Conduct, or any other rule or regulation of the Senate relating to the conduct of individuals in the performance of their duties as members, officers, or employees of the Senate; (2) anonymous or informal complaints; (3) information developed during a study or inquiry by the Committee or other committees or subcommittees of the Senate, including information obtained in connection with legislative or general oversight hearings; (4) information reported by the news media; or (5) information obtained from any individual, agency or department of the executive branch of the Federal Government.
A complaint need not be sworn nor must it be in any particular form to receive Committee consideration [emphasis added], but the preferred complaint will: (1) state, whenever possible, the name, address, and telephone number of the party filing the complaint; (2) provide the name of each member, officer or employee of the Senate who is specifically alleged to have engaged in improper conduct or committed a violation; (3) state the nature of the alleged improper conduct or violation; (4) supply all documents in the possession of the party filing the complaint relevant to or in support of his or her allegations as an attachment to the complaint.”
Please note that the Committee does not provide advisory guidance on past conduct.