San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit Policies

The below policies were copied from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office official website.  Pay particular attention to the fifth bulleted paragraph.  Although form FPPC 700 violations (economic interests) are not specifically mentioned, they are under the jurisdiction of the Fair Political Practices Commission just like the campaign disclosure violations.  Generically they both involve public disclosure of information deemed critical to an informed public.

Logically they both would be handled in an identical manner.

Although this Office has handled such prosecutions in the past, for the first time we will have a dedicated Unit to work on these issues and develop expertise in the area. Understandably, our policies and procedures will develop over time. But to begin this process we have adopted the following approaches as we institute the unit:

  • All action by the Public Integrity Unit will be initiated only upon the receipt of a written complaint by a citizen or by an investigation submitted by a law enforcement agency. We will be happy to accept and return telephone calls, but no investigation will be initiated until a written complaint is received. We do not feel it is constructive to have lengthy personal meetings with complainants. Written complaints from citizens may be by mail, hand-delivered documents or e-mail.
  • We will provide easy access for such complaints through our website. In order to protect the complainants and this Office, we feel it important that all complaints be documented by putting them in written form. This is the way we do all criminal cases and public corruption cases should be no different.
  • To insure open government, it is our expectation that there be strict compliance with the Brown Act. Our goal here will be compliance and not prosecution. Complaints and violations will be brought to the attention of an agency alleged to have violated the act. They will be monitored for compliance. Only aggravating circumstances or repeat offenses will result in prosecution. We also have the authority to file civil actions to prevent or nullify actions done in violation of the Act, and we will do so in appropriate cases.
  • If complainants so request, we will keep their identity confidential. And we will accept anonymous complaints. We will respond in writing to all identified complainants.
  • All complaints concerning campaign contributions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Fair Political Practices Commission will be referred by this Office to the FPPC for an initial review and investigation. If they believe that a criminal review is justified, they will forward the matter back to us.
  • We will not assume an advisory role to public officials but will refer them to their city attorneys or their own counsel. We are the public prosecutor and do not serve the function of providing legal advice to public officials.
  • We have limited investigative resources and will seek to have local law enforcement handle or at least assist in the investigation of these cases.
  • We expect to work closely with the County Auditor-Controller and with the County Registrar of Voters where their assistance will be important in the proper investigation and handling of such cases.