GA - GAC
Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
Terms and Conditions of Agreement for Access to Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia Website

(Note: certain features of this site have been disabled for the general public to prevent digital piracy. If you are an entitled government entity pursuant the Georgia Administrative Procedures Act, O.C.G.A.§ 50-13-7(d) contact the State of Georgia's Administrative Procedures Division at 678-364-3785 to enable these features for your location.)

To access this website, you must agree to the following:

These terms of use are a contract between you and/or your employer (if any), and Lawriter, LLC.

You agree not to use any web crawler, scraper, or other robot or automated program or device to obtain data from the website.

You agree that you will not sell or license anything that you download, print, or copy from this website.

THIS WEBSITE AND ITS CONTENT ARE PROVIDED "AS IS." THE STATE OF GEORGIA AND LAWRITER EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT AND ARE NOT LIABLE TO ANY PERSON FOR ANY ERRORS IN INACCURACIES CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE.

By accessing and/or using this website, you agree to the terms and conditions above. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions above, you must cease accessing and/or using this website and destroy all material obtained from this website without your agreement.

If you accept these terms enter the information below and click “I AGREE”.

Chapter 189-2 PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

Rule 189-2-.01 Definitions

The following words and terms as used in these rules shall have the meaning hereinafter ascribed to them or as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 21-5 et seq.:

(1) "Advisory Opinion" an opinion issued by the Commission pursuant to its authority under O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(13). The provision of information or advice by Commission staff in response to questions shall not constitute an "advisory opinion" in terms of the law unless such information or advice is formally adopted by the Commission pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(13).
(2) "Complainant" a person who files a written complaint alleging a violation of one or more laws under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
(3) "Compliance Order" a written document wherein the Commission and the Respondent agree and consent to terms which may include findings of fact, conclusions of law, cease and desist language, remedial action to be taken, oral or written statements to be made or issued, prohibition of actual or threatened violations, the ordering of actions necessary to correct cited deficiencies and a waiver of any appeal rights.
(4) "Consent Order" a written document wherein the Commission and the Respondent agree and consent to terms which shall include admissions of violations by the Respondent, findings of fact; conclusions of law, cease and desist language, imposition of civil penalties, late filing fees, and/or administrative fees and which may include, among other things, remedial actions to be taken, oral or written statements to be made or issued, prohibition of actual or threatened violations, or the ordering of actions necessary to correct cited deficiencies and a waiver of any appeal rights. Consent Orders must be signed by the Respondent and received by the Commission staff not later than seven (7) days prior to the date the case is scheduled to be heard before the Commission, unless the Executive Secretary has approved an extension of time.
(5) "Contested Case" a case that will proceed to an administrative hearing in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act following a finding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute under the jurisdiction of the Commission has been violated.
(6) "Credit Received on Loan" a contribution received by a candidate or campaign committee for the forgiveness of a loan and/or a portion of an outstanding loan carried by the candidate or campaign committee.
(7) "Deferred Payment" an expenditure for the payment of anything of value which is received by, provided to, furnished to, or conveyed to/or on behalf of a candidate or a campaign committee that was previously reported on a prior or current Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report for the time period in which the thing of value was provided.
(8) "End Recipient" the person or entity paid for providing goods or services to benefit a candidate, officeholder, or campaign committee regardless of whether such payment is arranged, passed through, or paid by a third party or agent for the candidate, officeholder, or campaign committee.
(9) "Frivolous Complaint" a complaint that lacks a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the allegations in said complaint, as alleged by the Complainant, that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.
(10) "Good Faith" a state of mind consisting in (1) honesty in belief or purpose, (2) faithfulness to one's duty or obligation, or (3) absence of intent to defraud or to seek unconscionable advantage.
(11) "Hearing" a proceeding before the Commission or its designated hearing officer for either the consideration of a modification or a change in existing rules, or for an adjudication of issues presented in a contested case, at which all parties at interest are afforded an opportunity to present testimony, documentary evidence and arguments, as to the matter under consideration.
(12) "Hearing Officer" an individual designated by the Commission for the purpose of presiding over a hearing as herein defined.
(13) "In-kind expenditure" an expenditure of any goods or services for which a candidate or campaign committee did not extend payment to an end-recipient for the goods or services provided, but for which the campaign received the use / benefit of said goods or services (e.g., A computer is loaned to the campaign and the computer is returned to the donor upon the conclusion of the campaign).
(14) "Independent Expenditure" a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate or candidate's authorized committees.
(15) "Legal Basis" a legal principle or statute which constitutes the basis for the claim that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.
(16) "Legal Merit" an argument that is supported by a legal principle or statute, that is advanced by the Complainant in Good Faith, that constitutes the basis for the claim that the Respondent violated the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Act.
(17) "Loan Repayment" an expenditure made by a candidate or campaign committee to retire or reduce any outstanding loan carried by the candidate or campaign committee. Any such expenditure must note and itemize which loan the payment is being applied to (e.g., 2012 General Election Loan $500.00; and, 2012 Primary Election Loan $1,000.00).
(18) "Local Filing Officer" a local filing officer is any person who supervises and/or qualifies local officials for election to county and/or municipal offices, said term shall include, but not be limited to, all county election superintendents, municipal clerks, and chief executive officers of municipalities.
(19) "Notice of Hearing" a written statement of the substance of a specific charge alleging violation of the statute, rule, or regulation to be considered at a hearing to the person or party affected thereby, or of the substance of a proposed rule to be considered, which will afford actual notice to all interested persons. Notice shall be given in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.
(20) "Preliminary Hearing" a proceeding before the Commission for the purpose of deciding if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute under the jurisdiction of the Commission has been violated, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe there has been a failure to comply with any rule or regulation promulgated by the Commission, and if the matter should be set down for a "Hearing" for the purpose of determining whether a violation of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission and whether any sanctions should be imposed should a violation be found. This term also specifically includes hearings held pursuant to the issuance of an Administrative Subpoena.
(21) "Refund" any contribution (either cash or in-kind) which is returned by a candidate or campaign committee to the original donor and not expended for campaign purposes. A refund must be made in full to the donor making a contribution if the campaign is refunding a single contribution; or pro rata to all donors if the campaign is being terminated and excess funds must be disposed of. All funds contributed to any candidate or campaign committee are not personal assets of the candidate or committee and can only be disposed of by refund to the donor(s) or transfer in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 21-5-33.
(22) "Respondent" a person against whom a complaint is filed or who has been added as such by the Commission at a preliminary hearing based on a finding of reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act has occurred; or a person who has been named a Respondent by the Commission by virtue of a finding of probable cause to open an investigation.
(23) "Rule" any regulation, standard, or statement of general or particular applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy, or describes the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of the Commission.
(24) "Substantial Compliance" the requirement that all reports submitted pursuant to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act be at least 90% compliant with respect to technical defects.
(25) "Technical Defect" an inadvertent or scrivener's error in the preparation or making of a filing with the Commission or with a local filing officer. "Technical defects" include such mistakes as showing incorrectly or failing to show a date, a contributor's occupation, an address, an email address or an employer, or other similar errors. Accounting errors constitute technical defects if they include obvious errors in addition or subtraction. The failure to list or show the disposition of a contribution is not an accounting error that constitutes a "technical defect."

Rule 189-2-.02 Administrative Declaratory Rulings

(1) Availability of Declaratory Ruling. Any person whose legal rights have been interfered with or impaired by the application of any statutory provision or any rule or order of the Commission may petition the Commission and request a declaratory ruling thereon. The Commission will not render advisory opinions or resolve questions that become moot or take any other action hereunder except with respect to cases upon which a superior court would be required to act under the Georgia declaratory judgment statutes as construed by the appellate courts of Georgia.
(2) Form of Petition. Each such petition shall be filed with the Commission in writing and shall state:
(a) The name, post office address, and e-mail address of the petitioner;
(b) The full text of the statute, rule, order upon which a ruling is requested;
(c) A paragraph statement of all pertinent and existing facts necessary to a determination of the applicability of the quoted statute or rule;
(d) Petitioner's contention, if any, as to the aforesaid applicability with citations of legal authorities, if any, that authorize, support, or require a decision in accordance therewith;
(e) A statement setting forth in detail the petitioner's interest in the matter and why and how the petitioner is uncertain or insecure with respect to his rights. The petition shall be verified under oath by, or in proper behalf of, the petitioner.
(3) Proceedings on Petition. If the Commission shall determine that a decision can be rendered on the face of the petition without further proceedings, it shall render a summary decision thereon. Otherwise, all parties known by the Commission to have a legal interest in the matter shall be notified and given an opportunity to be heard at an informal hearing.
(4) Informal Request for Interpretation and Rulings. The provisions of this Rule shall not be construed to preclude:
(a) Any person from requesting the Commission to interpret or otherwise rule upon the applicability of any pertinent statute or rule informally by personal appearance before the Commission, by letter or by telegram to the Commission; or
(b) The Commission from acting upon any such request whenever and however it deems appropriate, or from issuing any interpretative ruling without petition therefor.
(5) Any request presented in any manner other than in accordance with the provisions of this Rule shall not be deemed to be filed as a Petition for Declaratory Ruling but shall be deemed an informal request for interpretation or ruling and shall be acted on as such.

Rule 189-2-.03 Complaints

(1) Form of Complaint. All complaints to be considered by the Commission shall be filed in writing with the Commission and shall contain the following:
(a) The name, address, and e-mail address of the person or persons who file the complaint.
(b) The sworn verification and signature of the complainant.
(c) The name and address of the party or parties against whom the complaint is filed, and if any such party is a candidate, the office being sought by said candidate.
(d) A clear and concise statement of the facts upon which the complaint is based along with an allegation that such facts constitute one or more violations of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or other law under the jurisdiction of the Commission.
(e) A general reference to the statutory provision(s) of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act, Vendor Gift Disclosure Law, Commission Rule, or any other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission allegedly violated by respondent.
(f) Any further information which might support the allegations in the complaint including, but not limited to, the following:
1. The name and address of all other persons who have firsthand knowledge of the facts alleged in the complaint;
2. Any documentary evidence that supports the facts alleged in the complaint.
(2) Technical Defects. Upon receipt of a complaint that alleges technical defects, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 21-5-7.1 and by these Rules, Commission staff shall follow the requirements for handling technical defects stated in O.C.G.A. § 21-5-7.1. A respondent in receipt of a complaint sent to respondent pursuant to Rule 189-2-.03(3), below, may assert that the complaint contains technical defects which have not been identified by Commission staff. The respondent must state the grounds supporting the claim that a technical defect exists, provide all supporting evidence supporting that assertion, and submit appropriate filings correcting the technical defects. If, based on respondent's submission, Commission staff agrees that technical defects did indeed exist, and, if the technical defects are corrected, it shall treat the correction of the defects consistent with the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 21-5-7.1. If the alleged violations do not constitute technical defects or if they were not corrected, Commission staff shall begin investigation on the complaint consistent with the requirements of Rule 189-2-.03(5).
(3) Preliminary Action on the Complaint. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Commission staff shall send a copy of the complaint to the respondent affording an opportunity to respond to the complaint within thirty (30) days in writing if desired. Responses or other documents submitted by the Complainant or Respondent to the Commission after the thirty day period may be disregarded by the Commission or staff during the preliminary investigation or at the preliminary hearing. If additional violations are discovered during the investigation of any complaint, notice shall be given to the Respondent as to those additional violations. The Respondent shall then have fourteen (14) days from the date of the notice to provide a response. Otherwise, Commission staff shall present a Probable Cause petition to the Commission.
(4) Defective Complaint. Upon receipt of a written complaint which does not conform to the requirements of paragraph (1) of this Rule, the Executive Secretary of the Commission shall by letter acknowledge receipt of the complaint, advise the complainant of the defect in the complaint and inform the complainant that the complaint will not be considered by the Commission unless the defect is corrected.
(5) Preliminary Investigation of Complaint. The Commission staff shall conduct a preliminary investigation of any non-defective complaint and recommend as a part of its on-going investigation what further action, if any, should be taken. If the Commission staff should determine, after completing its preliminary investigation, that there is no evidentiary or jurisdictional basis for proceeding on a complaint under the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or any other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission, then the staff shall so notify the Complainant and administratively dismiss the complaint without requiring any formal action by the Commission.
(6) Preliminary Hearing. Following the preliminary investigation the complaint shall be scheduled for a preliminary hearing before the Commission and the Complainant and Respondent shall be notified of the scheduled hearing date. At such hearing, the Commission shall determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred and if such a finding is made the matter will be set down for a hearing pursuant to the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act. The Respondent will have 30 days to initiate resolution of the matter with Commission staff prior to an APA hearing. If the Commission finds no reasonable grounds to believe a violation has occurred, the complaint shall be dismissed, subject to being reopened upon discovery of additional evidence or relevant material.
(7) Consideration of the Complaint. If at the preliminary hearing it is determined that further action is warranted, the Commission shall proceed as provided by law in contested cases. Nothing in this rule shall require the Commission to dispose of any matter in a single hearing nor shall this rule prevent the matter from being subject to further investigation by the Commission staff.
(8) The Commission shall not initiate an investigation on any complaint filed within thirty (30) days of an election in which the subject of the complaint is a participant or candidate in said election.

Rule 189-2-.04 Initiation of Investigations by the Commission

Commission staff, when it discovers or learns of evidence that a violation of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act or any other statute within the jurisdiction of the Commission may have occurred, may initiate, on reasonable belief that probable cause exists, an investigation into suspected violations of laws or rules under its jurisdiction as it deems necessary. In such case, the applicable procedures found in Rules 189-2-.03, 189-2-.05, and 189-2-.06 shall be followed in the investigation. The respondent shall be notified by the Commission staff in writing of the initiation of the investigation and of the basis for the finding of probable cause to open the investigation. The Commission staff shall not be required to file the Complaint form described in Rule 189-2-.03(1) nor to follow the procedures required under that Rule.

Rule 189-2-.05 Contested Cases; Notice; Hearing; Record

After the initial investigation and preliminary hearing have been completed, and if reasonable grounds to believe a violation of the Campaign Finance Act has occurred have been found, a matter becomes a contested case and shall be scheduled for hearing pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. The rules of that Act and of the Office of State Administrative Hearings shall govern contested cases, in addition to the rules of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

Rule 189-2-.06 Rules of Procedure for Regular Commission Meetings

Regular meetings of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order, which are hereby adopted as the Rules of Procedure for conducting such meeting. The Chairman of the Commission, or the Commissioner acting in that capacity, shall have the authority to make rulings regarding procedural matters and issues coming before the Commission. A majority (of a quorum) of the Commission may alter, amend, or reverse any such procedural ruling. A copy of Robert's Rules of Order will be maintained by the Executive Secretary of the Commission and available at all regular meetings.

Rule 189-2-.07 Investigations, Administrative Subpoenas and Notices for Hearings

(1) Whenever Commission staff is informed by a local filing officer or determines independently that a candidate, public officer, or other person required to file a Personal Financial Disclosure Statement, Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report, or any other document under the jurisdiction of the Commission, has failed to file or has failed to properly file any required report or document or has omitted information required to be disclosed by law or has included false or misleading information on such a document, Commission staff will determine if technical defects apply, initiate an investigation, and begin an enforcement action, as may be appropriate.
(2) Administrative Subpoena.
(a) If it is deemed appropriate by Commission staff in the course of an investigation or to secure witnesses or documents at a hearing before or on behalf of the Commission, an Administrative Subpoena may be served to obtain relevant documents or the attendance of a witness.
(b) If a person or entity to whom an administrative subpoena has been issued objects to the subpoena, such person shall file before the Commission a motion to quash the subpoena within ten (10) business days of receipt of the subpoena. Commission staff or their counsel may duly respond to such a motion. The Commission shall hear and rule upon the motion at its next regularly scheduled meeting or at a specially called meeting, and compliance with the subpoena shall be stayed until a ruling by the Commission is made upon the motion.
(3) Following the completion of an initial investigation all matters not administratively dismissed or solely containing technical defects shall be scheduled for hearing before the Commission and a Notice of Hearing pursuant to Rule 189-2-.05 shall issue.

Rule 189-2-.08 Disposition of Cases

(1) After completion of appropriate proceedings, the Commission or its duly appointed officer may:
(a) Dismiss the case if no violation is found.
(b) Issue a Compliance Order.
(c) Issue an Order, including a Consent Order, finding one or more violations of law under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission, and imposing civil penalties as provided by law, including but not limited to:
(i) Assessment of civil penalties in a dollar amount not to exceed the maximum authorized per violation times the number of violations found; and
(ii) Order the filing or amending of any delinquent or deficient document or report required to be filed by law under the jurisdiction of the State Ethics Commission and on a form or in the manner required by the Commission, within a certain time period with copies to be filed with the Commission; and
(iii) Ordering such other actions as necessary to bring about compliance with the law, including prohibiting the actual or threatened commission of any conduct constituting a violation.
(d) Suspend the hearing and report all preliminary findings to any prosecutorial authority for any action deemed appropriate.
(e) Postpone findings and any possible penalty for rescheduling and consideration of the matter at a future meeting, and subject to the taking of any interim action suggested by the Commission as dispositive in lieu of further proceedings.
(2) If a Hearing Officer hears a contested case and issues an Initial Decision:
(a) The Initial Decision will become the Final Decision by operation of law unless the Respondent or Attorney General's office makes a written request for review by the Commission within 30 days of the filing of the Initial Decision. Nothing in the Rules shall be construed to prevent the Commission, within 30 days of the Initial Decision, from ordering a review of any Initial Decision rendered by the duly appointed Hearing Officer.
(b) If the Respondent or Attorney General's office files a motion for review within 30 days of Initial Decision of the Hearing Officer, the Respondent or Attorney General's office shall include therein a statement of the reasons for seeking review and alleged errors made by the Hearing Officer in the Initial Decision. The Commission's review will be limited to those issues raised by the Respondent or Attorney General's office in the motion for review or by the Commission in its order for review.
(c) Upon the filing of a motion for review within 30 days of the Initial Decision, by the Respondent or Attorney General's office, or upon the filing of a timely order for review by the Commission on its own motion, notice of the date and time for the review shall be served on the Respondent or counsel for the Respondent and Attorney General's office.
(d) On review of the Initial Decision, the Commission shall have all the powers it would have in making the Initial Decision, and in its discretion shall have the power to take additional testimony or remand the case to the original hearing officer for such purpose, as provided in the Administrative Procedure Act and in accordance with this rule. The Respondent or Respondent's counsel and the Attorney General's office shall docket any motion, including motions to present additional evidence, at least fourteen (14) days before the date set for the Review Hearing. Responses to any such motions shall be docketed at least seven (7) days before the date set for the Review Hearing.
(i) Motions to present additional evidence or to remand the case to the original hearing officer for such purpose shall be granted only if the additional evidence is material and there was good cause for failing to present such evidence before the original hearing officer. The Commission shall enter an order as to the legal sufficiency of all motions, including motions for the presentation of additional evidence, prior to the Review Hearing.
(ii) Unless the Commission has granted a motion to present additional evidence, the Commission shall not receive any additional evidence by testimony or through documents at the Review Hearing. When represented by counsel at the Review Hearing, only counsel for the Respondent is permitted to make oral argument on behalf of the Respondent. When represented by counsel, unless the Commission has granted a motion to allow the additional testimony of the Respondent at the Review Hearing, the Respondent may not make a statement to the Commission, and any questions of the Respondent by the Commission shall be directed to the Respondent's counsel. During oral argument, questions by the Commission and the responses thereto shall not exceed the scope of the record under review unless the Commission has granted a motion to present additional evidence.
(e) Oral argument up to twenty (20) minutes per side is permitted in the Review Hearing. Additional time for argument must be requested in writing and docketed at least fourteen (14) days before the date set for the Review Hearing.
(f) Once the Review Hearing is concluded, the Commission shall deliberate as to the Final Decision in open session. At the conclusion of the deliberations, the vote of the matter shall be conducted in open session.

Rule 189-2-.09 Civil Penalties Imposed by the Commission

All civil penalties imposed by the Commission shall be made payable to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, and such funds shall be processed for delivery pursuant to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act.

Rule 189-2-.10 Repealed

Rule 189-2-.11 Rules of Procedure - Seeking an Award of Attorney's Fees

The Commission shall assess reasonable and necessary attorney's fees and expenses of litigation in any administrative action pending before the Commission, upon the motion of the Respondent or the Commission itself, if it finds that a Complainant or the Complainant's counsel filed a Complaint, or any related pleading thereto, that is frivolous, which shall include, but not be limited to, a complaint or pleading that lacks a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the claims made therein.

(1) Whenever a Respondent desires to seek an award of attorney's fees against a Complainant pursuant of O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23) on the grounds that the latter filed a complaint that was frivolous, the Respondent and Complainant shall comply with, to the extent practicable, the following rules of procedure.
(a) Respondent may include in their initial answer to the Complaint, inter alia, a request for attorney's fees pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23).
(b) In the alternative, Respondent may also file, at any time before a final judgment in said case is rendered by the Commission, a separate motion requesting attorney's fees pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23). If the Respondent is filing a separate motion, said motion shall comply with subsection (d) of this rule as detailed below.
(c) The Respondent's request (either by responsive pleading or separate motion) shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. A clear and concise statement of the facts upon which the Respondent asserts to support their claim that the complaint lacks a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the claims made therein against them.
2. A clear and concise statement of the legal argument upon which the Respondent asserts to support their claim that the complaint lacks a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the claims made therein against them.
3. A clear and concise statement as to the amount of attorney's fees that are being requested. Said statement shall be accompanied by, but not limited to, a copy of the Respondent's outstanding attorney's fee invoice that has been received as of the date of the request. Moreover, the Respondent shall update their request, if applicable, by submitting a copy of their current attorney's fee invoice within 48 hours of the hearing on their request for attorney's fees.
(d) If the Respondent files a separate motion requesting attorney's fees pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23), said motion shall be filed directly with the Commission and an exact copy of said motion shall also be served upon the Complainant (at the Complaint's last known address as contained in the Complaint filed with the Commission) by the Respondent. Service shall occur concurrently with the filing of said motion with the Commission. Service of the motion requesting attorney's fees shall be considered effectuated upon the Complainant by the transmittal of said motion via regular U.S. mail or via standard commercial carrier to include, but not limited to, UPS and FedEx.
(e) If the Respondent files a written request for attorney's fees (either by motion, answer or responsive pleading), the Complainant shall be afforded an opportunity to file a written response to the Respondent's written request for attorney's fees, said response period shall be no less than fifteen (15) business days from the date of service of the Respondent's written request for attorney's fees with the Commission. The Complainant's written response shall be filed directly with the Commission and an exact copy of said response shall also be served upon the Respondent (at the Respondent's last known address as contained in the Respondent's answer, responsive pleading or motion requesting attorney's fees) by the Complainant, said service shall occur concurrently with the filing of said response with the Commission. Service of the written response shall be considered effectuated upon the Respondent by transmittal of said response via regular U.S. mail or via standard commercial carrier to include, but not limited to, UPS and FedEx. Any response in opposition to the Respondent's request for attorney's fees shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. A clear and concise statement of the facts upon which the Complainant asserts to support their claim that the complaint does not lack a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the claims made therein against the Respondent.
2. A clear and concise statement of the legal argument upon which the Respondent asserts to support their claim that the complaint does not lack a Legal Basis, Legal Merit, or factual basis to support the claims made therein against the Respondent.
(f) Attorney's fees awarded pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23) and the applicable rules of the Commission shall not exceed the amounts which are reasonable and necessary for defending or asserting the rights of the Respondent. Further, no award for attorney's fees shall exceed the actual amount of attorney's fees that were expended by the Respondent in the case constituting the grounds for the request for attorney's fees.
(g) No Complainant and no attorney representing same shall be assessed attorney's fees as to any claim which the Commission determines was asserted by said Complainant or attorney in a Good Faith attempt to establish a new theory of law in Georgia if such new theory of law is based on some recognized precedential or persuasive authority. Further, the Commission shall judge whether a complaint or subsequent pleading is frivolous based upon the information that was publicly available to the Complainant at the time the complaint or subsequent pleading was made, and not upon information that was subsequently discovered by the Commission's staff in their investigation.
(h) An award of attorney's fees under these rules and pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-5-6(b)(23) shall be determined by an order of Commission and said order shall be reduced to writing by Commission staff at the conclusion of the Commission's hearing. Further, any such order awarding attorney's fees shall constitute a binding order of the Commission subject to further enforcement as provided by Georgia law.

Rule 189-2-.12 Rules of Procedure - Telephone and Video Conferencing

The Commission may on its own motion or upon the request of any party may in its discretion conduct any and all proceedings which are authorized to be conducted by the Commission by telephone or video conference with the attorneys for all affected parties, and with the parties and all necessary witnesses in the case of preliminary hearings, administrative hearings, final hearings, or other proceedings.

(1) The Commission's presiding officer or hearing officer may specify:
(a) The time and the person who will initiate the conference;
(b) The party which is to incur the initial expense of the conference, or the apportionment of such costs among the parties, while retaining the discretion to make an adjustment of such costs upon final resolution of the case by taxing same as part of the costs; and
(c) Any other matter or requirement necessary to accomplish or facilitate the telephone or video conference.
(2) As this rule relates to preliminary hearings, administrative hearings and final hearings, the following requirements shall apply:
(a) Said hearings shall comply with the Georgia Open Meetings Act.
(b) Said hearings shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Consolidated Rules and Regulations of the Commission.
(c) Notice shall be given to the parties and the public that a proceeding will occur partially or wholly by remote telephone or video conferencing. Such notice may be given by any means authorized by the Georgia Open Meetings Act.
(d) If a party or a member of the public objects to the remote proceeding, the Commission's presiding officer or hearing officer shall sustain or overrule such objection prior to commencing the proceeding.
(e) Members of the public shall be given an opportunity to view the remote proceedings, such as by joining the telephone or video conference, through a livestream of the proceeding, or through substantially similar means of viewing. The Commission will have the sole discretion to determine which parties and persons may participate in any remote proceeding conducted by telephone or video conference.