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About the Commission

Since its inception in 1979, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission has upheld its core mission and guiding principle that public office is a public trust and that any effort to realize personal financial gain through one’s public office other than compensation provided by law is a violation of that trust. The Pennsylvania Public Official and Employees Ethics Act, Act 170 of 1978, became effective on January 1, 1979, and in subsequent years was amended and reenacted in 1989, codified in 1998, and amended in 2006.  Throughout its history, the Ethics Commission has remained ever vigilant and steadfast in its mission of ensuring the public’s confidence in state and local government.

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Ethics Act.  The Ethics Act  applies to public officials and public employees.  Candidates and nominees for public office are also subject to certain provisions of the Ethics Act.  The Ethics Commission's responsibilities under the Ethics Act include rendering advisory opinions regarding the Ethics Act, enforcing the Ethics Act as it relates to the filing of Statements of Financial Interests forms, investigating alleged violations of the Ethics Act, and issuing decisions in relation to such investigations.

The Ethics Commission's responsibilities do not end with enforcing the Ethics Act.  Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, 4 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seq., and the Medical Marijuana Act (Act 16 of 2016) the Ethics Commission is vested with responsibilities which include generating a public listing of all state, county, municipal, and other government positions meeting the definitions of the terms "public official" or "executive-level public employee" set forth in both laws. The Commission is also charged with issuing determinations specific to both the Gaming Act and the Medical Marijuana Act.

The Ethics Commission has additional responsibilities under the Lobbying Disclosure Law, 65 Pa.C.S. § 13A01 et seq.  These responsibilities include the enforcement of certain provisions of the Lobbying Disclosure Law and the issuance of advisory opinions regarding the Lobbying Disclosure Law.


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