November 17, 2014

IG: Energy Lab Lobbied Officials for $2.4 Billion No-Bid Contract

GovExec.com reports:  

Federal investigators say employees at Sandia National Laboratories used taxpayer funds to lobby members of Congress and senior department officials to extend the lab’s management contract with Lockheed Martin Corp.—valued at $2.4 billion annually—without opening it up for competition.

“The use of federal funds for the development of a plan to influence members of Congress and federal officials to, in essence, prevent competition was inexplicable and unjustified,” Energy Inspector General Gregory Friedman concluded after conducting a special inquiry into the allegations. The IG’s Nov. 7 report was released Wednesday.  

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Misuse of Govt. Resources | Permalink

November 10, 2014

Attorney-Advisor Opening at National Science Foundation

The link to the position may be found here

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

October 30, 2014

Next IEC Meeting: November 6

Our November speaker will be Dave Apol, General Counsel at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.  Mr. Apol will discuss a variety of OGE topics of interest.  

The meeting will be held at 12:15 at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW Washington DC, Floor 8.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink

Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General

The New York Times reports:  

When the executives who distribute 5-Hour Energy, the popular caffeinated drinks, learned that attorneys general in more than 30 states were investigating allegations of deceptive advertising — a serious financial threat to the company — they moved quickly to shut the investigations down, one state at a time.

But success did not come in court or at a negotiating table.

Instead, it came at the opulent Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California, with its panoramic ocean views, where more than a dozen state attorneys general had gathered last year for cocktails, dinners and fund-raisers organized by the Democratic Attorneys General Association. A lawyer for 5-Hour Energy roamed the event, setting her sights on Attorney General Chris Koster of Missouri, whose office was one of those investigating the company.

The quick reversal, confirmed by Mr. Koster and Ms. Kalani, was part of a pattern of successful lobbying of Mr. Koster by the law firm on behalf of clients like Pfizer and AT&T — and evidence of a largely hidden dynamic at work in state attorneys general offices across the country.

Attorneys general are now the object of aggressive pursuit by lobbyists and lawyers who use campaign contributions, personal appeals at lavish corporate-sponsored conferences and other means to push them to drop investigations, change policies, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

A robust industry of lobbyists and lawyers has blossomed as attorneys general have joined to conduct multistate investigations and pushed into areas as diverse as securities fraud and Internet crimes.

But unlike the lobbying rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing state attorneys general, who serve as “the people’s lawyers” by protecting consumers and individual citizens.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Gifts, Issues: Revolving Door | Permalink

October 28, 2014

OSC Files Complaint for Disciplinary Action in Hatch Act Case

On October 22, 2014, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed a complaint for disciplinary action with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) against James Murry, an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for violating the Hatch Act.
 
The employee, a maintenance mechanic for USACE, is currently an independent candidate in the partisan election for sheriff in Jefferson County, Arkansas. He filed his notice of candidacy in defiance of repeated advice from both USACE and OSC that the Hatch Act prohibited him from running while he is a federal employee. In order to run in a partisan election, Mr. Murry was notified that he must resign from federal employment. He refused to do so, or to drop out of the race.
 
Moreover, he hosted a fundraiser in support of his campaign even though USACE had circulated regular notices to employees about the Hatch Act’s restrictions on political activity.  
 
The Hatch Act prohibits employees from being candidates in partisan elections – even as independent candidates – and from knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions from any person.  In its complaint, OSC charged the employee with violating both of these prohibitions and asked the MSPB to order appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Hatch Act. Available penalties include suspension, removal from employment, debarment from federal service, or a civil fine.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Hatch Act | Permalink

October 20, 2014

DEPUTY DIRECTOR VACANCY AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The USDA Office of Ethics is seeking a motivated and highly-qualified candidate for an exciting, full-time, GS-15 position as Deputy Director in its Washington, DC office.  The Office of Ethics is responsible for providing ethics advice and services to all agencies of the United States Department of Agriculture.  USDA is an equal opportunity employer. Individuals interested in applying should visit the vacancy posting at USAJobs:

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/383960700

Applications must be submitted no later than Friday, November 7, 2014.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

October 07, 2014

Ethics Positions Open at USDA

There are two vacancies at the USDA Office of the General Counsel.  They may be found at USAJobs here

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

October 01, 2014

Attorney Opening at Departmental Ethics Office, U.S. Department of Justice

The Departmental Ethics Office, U.S. Department of Justice, has posted an Attorney opening, closing October 22.  The position is a GS 13/14 with promotion potential to GS-15.  The job description and details may be found here.    

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

Ex-GSA Executive Jeff Neely Indicted for Fraud

GovExec.com reports:  

Jeff Neely, the General Services Administration executive viewed as the ringleader of the lavish spending on a 2010 training conference in Las Vegas, was indicted on five counts of fraud on Thursday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco.

The 59-year-old former head of region nine of the Public Building Service faces charges of making fraudulent reimbursement claims and false statements, according to an announcement from United States Attorney Melinda Haag of Northern California and GSA Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge David House. 

Neely is “alleged to have fraudulently sought reimbursement for personal travel and expenses—incurred in Las Vegas, Nev.; Long Beach, Calif.; Guam; and Saipan—by submitting false and fraudulent claims to the United States,” the announcement said. “The indictment further alleges that, when GSA employees questioned him about these expenses, Neely falsely represented that the costs were incurred for official government business.” 

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000 for each violation.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Conflicts of Interest, Issues: Misuse of Govt. Resources, Issues: Misuse of Position | Permalink

Slides for Thursday IEC Meeting

Find the presentation slides for Thursday's meeting here:   Download Interagency Ethics Council (Oct 2014)

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink