The proposed rule would have defined a "law enforcement official" as "an official of an agency or authority of the United States, a state, a territory, a political subdivision of a state or territory, or an Indian tribe, who is empowered by law to conduct: (1) an investigation or official proceeding inquiring into a violation of, or failure to comply with, any law; or (2) a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding arising from a violation of, or failure to comply with, any law."
The final rule modifies this definition slightly. The definition in the final rule recognizes that law enforcement officials are empowered to prosecute cases as well as to conduct investigations and civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings. In addition, the definition in the final rule reflects the fact that when investigations begin, often it is not clear that law has been violated. Thus, the final rule describes law enforcement investigations and official proceedings as inquiring into a potential violation of law. In addition, it describes law enforcement-related civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings as arising from alleged violation of law.