(1) Except as provided in (3) , or unless expressly authorized by any rule under this chapter, a presiding ALJ shall not initiate or participate in ex parte communications, directly or indirectly, with any party or with any person who has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of the case.
(2) For the purpose of this rule, a prohibited ex parte communication is any oral or written information that could intentionally or unintentionally influence any issue in a pending case or that directly or indirectly furnishes, diminishes or modifies any evidence in the case without notice and opportunity for all parties to participate in the communication.
(3) A presiding ALJ may consult with and receive aid from OALJ staff or another ALJ concerning the merits of a contested case if those persons do not receive ex parte communications of a type that the presiding ALJ would be prohibited from receiving.
(4) A presiding ALJ may engage in communications concerning administrative or procedural matters when the communication is necessary under the circumstances and does not affect the substantive rights of a party.
(5) If the presiding ALJ receives an improper ex parte communication, any decision and order entered in that case must include the ALJ's reason for concluding that the communication did not prejudice the substantial rights of any party.