3517.154 Review of complaint.

(A)

(1) The full-time attorney for the Ohio elections commission shall review each complaint filed with the commission under section 3517.153 of the Revised Code, shall determine the nature of the complaint, and, unless division (A)(2)(a) of this section requires that the complaint receive an automatic expedited hearing, shall make a recommendation to the commission for its disposition, in accordance with this section. The attorney shall make the determination and the recommendation, if required, not later than one business day after the complaint is filed.

(2)

(a) If the attorney determines that the complaint sets forth a violation of division (B) of section 3517.21 or division (B) of section 3517.22 of the Revised Code and that the complaint is filed during one of the periods of time specified in division (B)(1) of section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the complaint shall receive an automatic expedited hearing under section 3517.156 of the Revised Code.

(b) If the attorney determines that the complaint sets forth a failure to comply with or a violation of division (G), (I), (J), (O), (P), or (Q) of section 3517.13, division (A) of section 3517.21, or division (A) of section 3517.22 of the Revised Code and that the complaint is filed during one of the periods of time specified in division (B)(1) of section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the attorney shall recommend to the commission that the complaint receive an expedited hearing under section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, and the complaint shall receive such a hearing.

(c) If the attorney determines that the complaint sets forth a failure to comply with or a violation of a section of the Revised Code over which the commission has jurisdiction to hear complaints other than the sections described in divisions (A)(2)(a) and (b) of this section, and unless the attorney makes a determination as provided for in division (A)(3) of this section, the attorney shall recommend to the commission that the complaint be submitted to the commission under section 3517.155 of the Revised Code. After the attorney makes that recommendation, the attorney shall notify all parties to the complaint of the attorney's recommendation.

(3)

(a) If a complaint sets forth a failure to comply with or a violation of a section of the Revised Code over which the commission has jurisdiction to hear complaints other than the sections described in divisions (A)(2)(a) and (b) of this section and if the complaint is filed during one of the periods of time specified in division (B)(1) of section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the attorney may determine that the complaint should receive an expedited hearing under that section. The attorney shall make that determination by considering one or more of the following:

(i) The number of prior failures to comply with or violations of Title XXXV of the Revised Code that the person or entity against whom the complaint has been brought has committed and any prior penalties the commission has imposed on the person or entity;

(ii) If the complaint involves a statement required to be filed under section 3517.10, division (E) of section 3517.102, or section 3517.105, 3517.107, 3517.108, 3517.109, 3517.1011, 3517.1012, or 3517.1014 of the Revised Code or an addendum required to be filed under section 3517.11 of the Revised Code that is filed late, how late the filing is and how much time has elapsed between the deadline for filing the statement or addendum and the filing of the complaint;

(iii) If the complaint involves contributions and expenditures, contributions and disbursements, deposits and disbursements, gifts and disbursements, or donations and disbursements required to be reported under section 3517.10, division (E) of section 3517.102, or section 3517.105, 3517.107, 3517.108, 3517.109, 3517.1011, 3517.1012, 3517.1013, or 3517.1014 of the Revised Code that are either not reported or reported late, the number of contributions and expenditures, contributions and disbursements, deposits and disbursements, gifts and disbursements, or donations and disbursements not reported or how late they were reported;

(iv) If the complaint involves contributions required to be reported by a campaign committee under section 3517.10, division (E) of section 3517.102, or section 3517.105, 3517.107, 3517.108, or 3517.109 of the Revised Code that are not reported, whether any of the contributors of the contributions not reported have a personal or professional relationship with the campaign committee's candidate;

(v) If the complaint involves a statement required to be filed under section 3517.10, division (E) of section 3517.102, or section 3517.105, 3517.107, 3517.108, 3517.109, 3517.1011, 3517.1012, 3517.1013, or 3517.1014 of the Revised Code that is incomplete, the degree to which it is incomplete;

(vi) If the complaint involves the receipt of contributions in violation of section 3599.03 of the Revised Code, the dollar amount and number of contributions received in violation of that section;

(vii) If the complaint involves a failure to make the identification or a misstatement of the identification required under section 3517.105 or 3517.20 of the Revised Code, whether the failure or misstatement was purposely made;

(viii) If the complaint sets forth a failure to comply with or a violation of a section of the Revised Code described in division (A)(2)(c) of this section, whether the person or entity against whom the complaint has been made has committed more than one such failure or violation within a reasonable amount of time, or whether the cumulative nature of the failures or violations indicates a systematic disregard for the law.

(b) Prior to making a determination under division (A)(3)(a) of this section that the complaint should receive an expedited hearing under section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the attorney shall take into consideration the number of panels of the commission that have cases pending before them and the number of cases pending before the panels and shall not make a determination that will place an undue burden on a panel of the commission.

(c) If the attorney determines that the complaint should receive an expedited hearing under section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the attorney shall recommend to the commission that the complaint receive an expedited hearing, and, if a majority of the members of the commission agrees with the recommendation, the complaint shall receive an expedited hearing under that section.

(4) The attorney may join two or more complaints if the attorney determines that the allegations in each complaint are of the same or similar character, are based on the same act or failure to act, or are based on two or more acts or failures to act constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. If one complaint contains two or more allegations, the attorney may separate the allegations if they are not of the same or similar character, if they are not based on the same act or failure to act, or if they are not based on two or more acts or failures to act constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. If the attorney separates the allegations in a complaint, the attorney may make separate recommendations under division (A)(2) or (3) of this section for each allegation.

(B) Whenever a person or other entity files a complaint with the commission setting forth a failure to comply with or a violation of a section of the Revised Code as described in division (A)(2)(c) of this section and the complaint is filed during one of the periods of time specified in division (B)(1) of section 3517.156 of the Revised Code, the person or entity may request an expedited hearing under that section at the time the complaint is filed. The attorney for the commission shall inform the members of the commission of that request at the time the attorney makes a recommendation under division (A) of this section. The commission may grant the request for an expedited hearing under this division if it determines that an expedited hearing is practicable.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.40, HB 194, §1 Made subject to referendum in the Nov. 6, 2012 election. The version of this section thus amended was repealed by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.40, HB 5, §1, eff. 9/10/2010.

Effective Date: 12-22-1999; 03-31-2005