(1) From the time the Director issues an Order Instituting Proceedings until the date of final decision, no party, interested person, or representative thereof shall knowingly make or cause to be made an ex parte communication.
(2) Except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte communication matters as authorized by law, the Secretary's designee and the Administrative Law Judge presiding over any proceeding may not:
(i) Consult a person or party on an issue, unless on notice and opportunity for all parties to participate; or
(ii) Be responsible to or subject to the supervision, direction of, or evaluation by, an employee engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecutorial functions for the Department.
(b) Procedure upon occurrence of ex parte communication. If an ex parte communication is received by the Administrative Law Judge or the Secretary's designee, the Administrative Law Judge or the Secretary's designee, as appropriate, shall cause all of such written communication (or, if the communication is oral, a memorandum stating the substance of the communication) to be placed on the record of the proceeding and served on all parties. A party may, not later than 10 days after the date of service, file a response thereto and may recommend that the person making the prohibited communication be sanctioned pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.
(c) Sanctions. Any party to the proceeding, a party's representative, or any other interested individual, who makes a prohibited ex parte communication, or who encourages or solicits another to make any such communication, may be subject to any appropriate sanction or sanctions imposed by the Administrative Law Judge or the Secretary's designee, as appropriate, for good cause shown, including, but not limited to, exclusion from the hearing and an adverse ruling on the issue that is the subject of the prohibited communication.