WHEREAS, Ohio’s Ethics Laws, applicable since the mid 1970’s to public officials and employees, have helped to create and maintain the high ethical standards that the citizens of Ohio rightfully expect, that our children deserve and our laws demand; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of my Administration to ensure that all State employees act with integrity and respect for the law at all times;
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of this State do hereby order and direct that:
- All individuals employed in the Executive Branch of State government and members of its boards and commissions must adhere to the high ethical standards in government embodied in Ohio’s Ethics Laws as codified in Chapters 102 and 2921 of the Ohio Revised Code and as interpreted by the courts of this State and by the Opinions of the Ohio Ethics Commission (the “Ethics Laws”).
- The Chief Legal Counsel of each State agency, board or commission (or, in the absence of a Chief Legal Counsel, the highest ranking in-house attorney at the State agency, board or commission) shall continue to hold the position of the Chief Ethics Officer for that agency, board or commission. The Chief Legal Counsel of each State agency, board or commission or the Chief Legal Counsel’s designee shall be responsible for assisting all employees of that agency, board or commission in complying with the requirements of the Ethics Laws and to answer questions regarding the same. The Chief Legal Counsel shall also provide or arrange for annual instruction on Ohio’s Ethics Laws to all employees of that agency, board or commission, including guidance on areas of concern based upon the particular responsibilities or duties of that agency, board or commission.
- The Chief Legal Counsel of each State agency, board or commission shall also annually provide, to all employees of that agency, board or commission, subject to the financial disclosure requirement of Ohio Revised Code Section 102.02, additional instruction on the Ethics Laws in the areas of misuse of official position, revolving door restrictions, soliciting or receiving improper compensation, public contracts and disclosure of confidential information. Beginning January 31, 2020 and by January 31st thereafter, each agency, board or commission Chief Legal Counsel shall report to my Chief Counsel the nature of the Ethics Law instruction provided to their agency, board or commission employees in the previous calendar year. My Chief Counsel may require additional reporting from or trainings to each agency, board or commission as he deems necessary or appropriate.
- All State officials and employees are strongly encouraged to consult with their Chief Legal Counsel and/or the Ohio Ethics Commission concerning questions they may have about the Ethics Law, particularly before they undertake any action about which they have questions concerning compliance with the Ethics Laws.
- All State officials and employees are directed to report any alleged ethics violations by a State official or employee to the Ohio Ethics Commission and/or to the Inspector General and all state officials and employees are directed to cooperate with any investigation. Such direction to report and to cooperate is not intended to and should not be interpreted as infringing on any constitutional right against self-incrimination.
I signed this Executive Order on March 4, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio and it will expire 10 days after my last day as Governor of Ohio unless rescinded before then.
Mike DeWine, Governor
Frank LaRose, Secretary of State