Pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(c), the Ethics Commission has five years from the date the Commission learned of the alleged violation, but not more than six years from the date of the last conduct relating to the alleged violation, to issue an Order to Show Cause, which starts public proceedings against an individual.

An Order to Show Cause may not be issued more than six years after the alleged violation occurred. Therefore, if a state official violated the law in 2002, if the Commission did not learn of the violation until 2010, the Ethics Commission could not take any action against the official.