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Before the Investigation


Prior to opening an investigation, staff reviews the information received and typically conducts a preliminary examination of the identified activity. Staff may consult publicly or commercially available sources of data, seek input from Commission staff with expertise in the subject matter, or contact the entity involved for an explanation of its actions. In some situations, this preliminary examination establishes an adequate justification for the subject activity or otherwise indicates that no further inquiry is needed. In other cases, staff determines that a fuller inquiry into the subject conduct is required, and opens an investigation.

To determine whether there is a basis for opening an investigation, staff considers available information concerning the following factors:

  • Nature and seriousness of the alleged violation;
  • Nature and extent of the harm, if any;
  • Efforts made to remedy the violation;
  • Whether the alleged violations were widespread or isolated;
  • Whether the alleged violations were willful or inadvertent;
  • Importance of documenting and remedying the potential violations to advance Commission policy objectives;
  • Likelihood of the conduct reoccurring;
  • Amount of detail in the allegation or suspicion of wrongdoing;
  • Likelihood that staff could assemble a legally and factually sufficient case;
  • Compliance history of the alleged wrongdoer; and
  • Staff resources.

If, based on a consideration of the foregoing factors, staff determines that an investigation is not warranted, it will so notify the subject of the inquiry, assuming the subject is aware that an investigation is under consideration.  If staff determines that an investigation should be opened, it will notify the subject of that fact.


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Updated: May 30, 2014