Section 2. (a) There is established a state ethics commission composed of five members. At no time shall more than three members be from the same political party.
(b) Three members of the commission shall be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be designated as chairman, and one member shall be appointed by the state secretary and one member shall be appointed by the attorney general. At no time shall more than two of the members to be appointed by the governor be from the same political party.
(c) Members of the commission shall serve for terms of five years.
(d) No person shall be appointed to more than one full five year term on the commission.
(e) Not less than thirty days prior to making any appointment to the commission, the appointing official shall give public notice that a vacancy on the commission exists.
(f) No member or employee of the commission shall:
(1) hold or be a candidate for any other public office while a member or employee or for one year thereafter;
(2) hold office in any political party or political committee;
(3) participate in or contribute to the political campaign of any candidate for public office.
(g) Members of the commission may be removed by a majority vote of the governor, state secretary, and attorney general, for substantial neglect of duty, inability to discharge the powers and duties of office, violation of subsection (f) of this section, gross misconduct, or conviction of a felony.
(h) Any vacancy occurring on the commission shall be filled within ninety days by the original appointing authority. A person appointed to fill a vacancy occurring other than by expiration of a term of office shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the member he succeeds, and shall be eligible for appointment to one full five year term.
(i) The commission shall elect a vice chairman. The vice chairman shall act as chairman in the absence of the chairman or in the event of a vacancy in that position.
(j) Three members of the commission shall constitute a quorum and three affirmative votes shall be required for any action or recommendation of the commission; the chairman or any three members of the commission may call a meeting; advance notice of all meetings shall be given to each member of the commission and to any other person who requests such notice;
(k) Members of the commission shall be compensated for work performed for the commission at such rate as the secretary of administration and finance shall determine, and shall be reimbursed for their expenses.
(l) The commission shall annually report to the general court and the governor concerning the action it has taken; the names and salaries and duties of all individuals in its employ and the money it has disbursed; and shall make such further reports on matters within its jurisdiction as may appear necessary;
(m) The commission shall employ an executive director, a general counsel, and, subject to appropriation, such other staff, including but not limited to clerks, accountants, and investigators, as are necessary to carry out its duties pursuant to this chapter and chapter two hundred and sixty-eight A. The staff shall serve at the pleasure of the commission and shall not be subject to the provisions of chapter thirty-one or section nine A of chapter thirty. The executive director shall be responsible for the administrative operation of the commission and shall perform such other tasks as the commission shall determine. The general counsel shall be the chief legal officer of the commission. The commission may employ, subject to appropriation, the services of experts and consultants necessary to carry out its duties. The colonel of state police, the state auditor, the comptroller, the attorney general, and the director of the office of campaign and political finance may make available to the commission personnel and other assistance as the commission may request.