Any person may request the commission to issue a written opinion with respect to that person’s duties under provisions of this charter or any ordinance relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying or governmental ethics. The commission shall, within 21 days, transmit its proposed opinion to the City attorney and district attorney, provided that the commission, or its executive director, can extend this time for good cause. Within ten working days of receipt of the proposed opinion, the City attorney and district attorney shall advise the commission whether they concur in the proposed opinion. If either the City attorney or district attorney do not concur with the proposed opinion, he or she shall inform the commission in writing concerning the basis for disagreement. No person who acts in good faith on an opinion issued by the commission and concurred in by the City attorney and district attorney shall be subject to criminal or civil penalties for so acting, provided that the material facts are as stated in the opinion request. The commission’s opinions shall be public records and may from time to time be published.
The commission may authorize its staff to issue informal oral advice to any person with respect to that person’s duties under provisions of this charter or any ordinance relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying or governmental ethics. Reliance on such oral advice shall not be a defense in any enforcement proceeding.
Subject to the civil service provisions of this charter, the commission may employ individuals who have graduated from a state accredited law school for the purpose of assisting the commission prepare opinions and providing advice under this section. These employees shall have no authority to provide advice to or represent the City and County or any of its officers or employees.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent City and County officers and employees from seeking advice from the City attorney concerning conflict of interest and governmental ethics laws.