August 19, 2014

Obama Administration Loosens Ban on Lobbyists in Government

The New York Times reports:  The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled back part of its ban on lobbyists serving in government, narrowing one of the president’s signature policies in the face of a legal challenge.

Under a new rule, registered lobbyists whom Mr. Obama had previously barred from serving on government advisory boards may now participate if they are representing companies or groups and not acting on their own behalf.

The change was published in the Federal Register and took effect immediately, the administration said. It comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit by six lobbyists who challenged the ban’s constitutionality after being excluded from a trade advisory committee. The lobbyists said their First Amendment rights to petition the government had been violated.

The Federal Register notice may be found here.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Miscellaneous | Permalink

August 15, 2014

Prosecution Rests in Former VA Governor McDonnell Trial

The Washington Post reports

The prosecution rested its federal corruption case against former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on Thursday with a final dramatic display of luxury goods the couple accepted from the onetime chief executive of a dietary supplement company.

An FBI agent testified that he had tallied the majority of gifts and loans provided to the couple by Jonnie R. Williams Sr. over two years and found that their value reached more than $177,000.

Special Agent David Hulser then stood in the witness box and, one by one, held aloft for jurors the dresses, shoes, golf shirts and more — all purchased by Williams for the couple who until January had occupied the governor’s mansion.

Over three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, prosecutors tried to convince jurors that the McDonnells conspired to lend the prestige of the governor’s office to the wheeling-and-dealing nutritional supplement executive.

Jurors have yet to hear from the defense, which on Monday will begin pressing a strong counterpoint: The governor’s alleged official help got Williams nowhere and — they say — he was promised nothing. His product, never studied at state universities as he sought nor introduced in the state health plan as he desired, was pulled from the shelves this week.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Gifts, Issues: Misuse of Position | Permalink

August 13, 2014

Reminder: No IEC Meeting in September

For everyone's planning purposes, there will NOT be an IEC meeting in September due to the Office of Government Ethics' Summit.  We will resume our regular meeting schedule in October.  

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink

August 08, 2014

Vacancy at Department of the Interior

The following vacancy announcement SOL-2014-0027 is posted at:

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/377568200

Job Title:  Attorney - Advisor, GS-0905-14/15, KD-Exc Svc

Department:Department Of The Interior Agency:  Office of the Solicitor Job Announcement

Number:SOL-2014-0027

SALARY RANGE: $105,211.00 to $157,100.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD: Thursday, August 7, 2014 to Thursday, August 14, 2014

SERIES & GRADE: GS-0905-14/15 POSITION INFORMATION: Excepted Appointment Permanent Position - Full-Time PROMOTION POTENTIAL: 15 DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy - Washington DC, DC View Map 

WHO MAY APPLY: United States Citizens

SECURITY CLEARANCE: Public Trust - Background Investigation SUPERVISORY STATUS: No

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

August 07, 2014

Washington Post lists the Gifts Given to Former VA Gov. McDonnell and Spouse

A full list may be seen here.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Gifts | Permalink

August 05, 2014

Presentation Slides for August 7 IEC Meeting

You may find the slides for the August 7 IEC meeting here:  Download Outside Professional Associations PowerPoint (August 2014) (August 1 2014) FINAL

Thanks Stuart!

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink

August 01, 2014

Gift of Rolex Watch Focus on 4th Day of McDonnell Trial

The Wasington Post reports:  Prosecutors on Thursday unveiled what could be a critical new piece of evidence in their case against former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen: a photograph of the governor, grinning and holding up his wrist to display a watch.

Testifying during the McDonnells’ federal corruption trial, businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. said he received the photo by text message in December 2012 in response to one he sent the governor. The watch on McDonnell’s wrist appeared to be the Rolex that Williams had purchased for the governor at the first lady’s request a year earlier.

The picture could shatter any assertion that the governor was unaware that Williams — who was then the chief executive of a dietary-supplement company — had provided the expensive timepiece. McDonnell (R) has previously said the watch was a Christmas gift from his wife.

Many of Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry’s questions for Williams appeared designed to prove that Robert McDonnell was in the loop about what the businessman wanted from the first couple — and was aware of many of the gifts Williams gave them to curry favor.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Gifts | Permalink

July 31, 2014

ETHICS SPECIALIST (GS-0301-11/13) VACANCY AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DEPARTMENTAL ETHICS OFFICE

The subject Ethics Specialist position is located with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary (OS), Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Ethics Division, Financial Disclosure Section, in Washington, D.C.

The OGC Ethics Division is currently conducting a search to fill this position. The two vacancy announcements, links provided below, are open through Wednesday, August 12, 2014, or the first 150 applicants (whichever comes first).

To view the vacancy announcements for this position, visit the following two links:

 https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/374631900?share=email

 https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/374360500?share=email

 

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

July 28, 2014

Trial for Former VA Governor McDonnell Begins

The Washington Post reports

In their much-anticipated federal corruption trial set to begin Monday, former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will seek to win acquittal on multiple charges and restore their honor in the eyes of the law. But over the course of the trial in a Richmond courtroom, expected to last five weeks, the McDonnells also will submit themselves to a potentially humiliating spectacle that will showcase an intimate view of their frayed marriage and odd personal relationships.

“It’s going to be ugly,” said L. Douglas Wilder, another former governor, who is friendly with McDonnell and has followed the case. “The more you read, the more sleaze develops. It’s not going to be nice for anyone.”

McDonnell, 60, a Republican who until January held the same office once occupied by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, is the first Virginia governor to be charged with a crime.

McDonnell and his wife are fighting 14 criminal charges of public corruption and lying on financial documents. Prosecutors have charged that in exchange for private plane rides, golf outings, expensive apparel and $120,000 in loans, the couple helped promote a businessman’s company, setting up meetings for chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. with state officials and even once letting him use the Executive Mansion for the launch of his new product.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Gifts, Issues: Misuse of Position | Permalink

Next IEC Meeting, August 7: “Demystifying the Ethics Rules for Serving on Nonprofit Boards in An Official Capacity”

Do your agency's employees seek to serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations? If so, you will want to attend this presentation led by Stuart Bender, DAEO and Director of USDA Office of Ethics. Changes in OGE's regulations permit employees -- under certain circumstances -- to serve in their official capacity on boards of nonprofit organizations. While OGE’s new rule is a significant change, it is not an automatic approval. Agencies must still evaluate individual requests to determine whether -- and under what limitations -- an employee may be allowed to serve in an official capacity on a nonprofit organization’s board. This training is a must for Ethics Officials who deal with this issue. Attendees will be provided with a “one-pager” -- that you can use right away -- containing the "Ten Commandments" for ensuring that your employees stay out of trouble in this area.

Meeting will be held August 7 at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Floor 8, 12:15-1:15. 

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink