If an ethics board finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the board shall consider the possibility of the alleged violator having to pay a total amount of penalty and costs of more than five hundred dollars. Based on such consideration, the board may give the person who is the subject of the complaint the option to have an administrative law judge conduct the hearing and rule on procedural and evidentiary matters. The board may also, on its own initiative, provide for retaining an administrative law judge. An ethics board may not require total payment of more than five hundred dollars in penalty and costs in any case where an administrative law judge is not used and the board did not give such option to the person who is the subject of the complaint.
[1994 c 154 § 220.]