January 23, 2015

Two Attorney Openings at NSF

The National Science Foundation has two ethics attorney openings in its office.  The details may be found on the following links on USAJobs: first and second

 

 

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Faces Arrest on Corruption Charges

The New York Times reports

Federal authorities are expected to arrest Sheldon Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, on corruption charges on Thursday, people with knowledge of the matter said. The case is likely to throw Albany into disarray at the beginning of a new session.

The investigation that led to the expected charges against Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, began after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March abruptly shut down an anticorruption commission he had created in 2013.

Details of the specific charges to be brought against Mr. Silver were unclear on Wednesday night, but one of the people with knowledge of the matter said they stemmed from payments that Mr. Silver received from a small law firm that specializes in seeking reductions of New York City real estate taxes. The total amount of the payments was unclear, but another person has said they were substantial and were made over several years.

Mr. Silver failed to list the payments from the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, on his annual financial disclosure filings with the state, as required.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Issues: Conflicts of Interest, Issues: Financial Disclosure | Permalink

January 16, 2015

OSC Press Release of Hatch Act Violation

Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed a Hatch Act complaint for disciplinary action against a senior official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). OSC’s complaint alleges that theofficial, a career member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), violated the Hatch Act when the officialsolicited political contributions from co- workers, including a subordinate. The complaint was filed with theMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), a quasi- judicial agency that hears disputes alleging merit systemviolations in the federal workplace. The Hatch Act is a federal law that ensures federal programs are run in anonpartisan fashion, protects federal employees from political coercion

in the workplace, and ensures a merit-based civil service.

OSC’s complaint alleges that around September 2011 the USDA official approached a subordinateand outlined the official’s proposal to establish a political action committee (PAC) in support of PresidentBarack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. According to the complaint, the official told the subordinate thatthe official hoped to obtain a political appointment by contributing a large sum of money to PresidentObama’s campaign. The official also told the subordinate that if the subordinate contributed to the official’sproposed PAC and the official received a political appointment, the official would help the subordinateobtain a career SES position. OSC alleges that the official asked the subordinate for a $2,400 contribution.Twice in October 2011, the official suggested that the subordinate contribute their performance bonus tothe proposed PAC. The official solicited the subordinate again in January 2012.

Also in September 2011, the official informed another USDA coworker of the proposed PAC and asked the coworker to contribute $2,000, according to OSC’s complaint. The official told the coworkerthat donating to PACs is how federal employees advance their careers.

According to OSC’s complaint, the official learned of the Hatch Act’s restriction against soliciting,accepting, or receiving political contributions at least as early as 1998. In 2010 and 2011, the official received USDA emails and briefings on the Hatch Act.

OSC’s complaint charges the official with two counts of knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving a political contribution from any person; one count of using official authority or influence for the purposeof interfering with or affecting the result of an election; and one count of engaging in political activity in anyroom or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an individual employed by the United Statesgovernment.

The USDA fully cooperated with OSC’s investigation.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Hatch Act | Permalink

January 06, 2015

Former Virginia Governor is Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Public Corruption

CNN reports:  

A federal judge has sentenced former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for 11 convictions on public corruption charges.

He'll start his prison term Feb. 9. He also must pay $1,100 -- which is $100 per charge.

His sentencing ends the dramatic downfall of the Republican governor once heralded as a rising star -- tapped to give the party's 2010 rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union, and a fixture on short lists for national office.

Now, McDonnell has another distinction: He's the first Virginia governor ever convicted of public corruption.

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

No February IEC Meeting

Our usual meeting spot at the U.S. Access Board is booked for the month of February so there will not be an IEC meeting in February.  We have the room for the rest of the year so future meetings will be held as usual.   

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink

December 30, 2014

MSPB Upholds VA Official's Removal Based on Inappropriate Gifts

The Washington Post reports:  

The government agency charged with making sure federal employees are treated fairly upheld this week the Department of Veterans Affairs decision to “formally remove” Sharon Helman, director of the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Care System and the leader at the center of the biggest scandal in the agency’s history.

But the ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) could not substantiate that Helman knew or should have known that employees at her hospital lied about health-care wait times for former troops seeking treatment for everything from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Instead, as the basis for upholding her removal, the judge named other charges against her by the VA, which said she accepted “inappropriate gifts,” such as a trip to Disneyland “in excess of $11,000 for what appears to be six of her family members for an 8-night stay,”  and $729.50 for five tickets last year and parking to a Beyonce concert on Aug. 24, 2013.

The ruling finds she accepted a total of nine gifts offered by a consultant whose “very business is to assist its clients in securing favorable government contracts, particularly with the Department of Veterans Affairs,  including five airline tickets between Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, Portland and Vancouver and entry fees for the Mississippi Blues marathon, according to the ruling.

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

December 29, 2014

Next IEC Meeting- January 8

TOPIC:

Government Contractors Forum and the Interagency Ethics Council: 

Making Your Ethics Program Hum  



Thursday, January 8, 2015, 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., LIVE ONLY at the offices
of The Boeing Company, 929 Long Bridge Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

The Boeing Company is Metro accessible from the Crystal City or Pentagon City
Stops.  Come meet your ethics and compliance colleagues in industry and
government from 11:30 - 12:00.  The interactive program will take place from
12:00 - 2:00.  THIS IS A BROWN BAG event, so if you want lunch, please bring
it. Restaurants and cafeteria are convenient.  WMACCA will provide drinks
and snack.  Free of charge. 


Facilitated by Patrick Carney, Assistant General Counsel (Ethics), FCC;
Steve Epstein, Chief Counsel, Ethics and Compliance, The Boeing Company;
Mike Kallens, Associate General Counsel & Manager of Corporate Ethics &
Compliance, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.;  and Jeffrey Green, Senior Attorney,
Standards of Conduct Office, Department of Defense.  

Having trouble getting buy-in and support for your ethics program?  Does it have the blahs?

Want to start the year off with fresh ideas and initiatives? Then join your ethics program peers from government and industry in a joint meeting between WMACCA and the Interagency Ethics Counsel (IEC) at the new Boeing Building at in Crystal City.  We will focus on revolving door issues, conflicts of interest, and getting buy-in and support from senior leaders and employees.

In addition, we'll have opportunities for networking and resolving ethics issues that arise between government and industry.  (WMACCA will apply for 1 hour of Ethics credit and 1.0 hours of regular credit for this program.)

DIRECTIONS:

From Crystal City Metro Stop.  (S. Clark Street and S. 18th Street)

              Upon exiting the Metro, turn to your left on South Bell Street (walking northwest).  Cross 15th Street and continue on 14th Road, which becomes Long Bridge Drive, to 10th Street.  (Eight minute walk.)  Boeing building (with large sign) is on the corner of Long Bridge Drive and 10th Street.

REGISTRATION

Please register to attend for free at so we have a total number of attendees:
http://www.cvent.com/d/nrqjfy/1q.   

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink

December 10, 2014

Ethics and Compliance-Senior Job- Freddie Mac

Please see the job description and application details here

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

December 09, 2014

USAID watchdog Michael Carroll retires in wake of whistleblower claims

The Washington Post reports:  Michael G. Carroll, the deputy inspector general for the U.S. Agency for International Development, will retire at the end of the year after allegations by whistleblowers that his office improperly altered and removed negative findings from audit reports before releasing them to the public.

Carroll, 60, said his decision to retire after 32 years with the federal government — the last three as acting inspector general — has nothing to do with the whistleblowers’ allegations. He said he hopes the White House will quickly name a replacement to run the office, which examines billions of dollars in spending by USAID around the world.

In October, The Washington Post reported that eight current and former auditors and employees at the USAID inspector general’s office complained that negative findings had been stricken from audit reports between 2011 and 2013. The Post also found that sharply critical passages had been removed from a dozen audits and that more than 400 negative comments about USAID and its mission offices had been deleted from final reports.

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Whistleblowers | Permalink

December 04, 2014

Slides from Dec. 4 IEC Meeting

Please find the slides from today's meeting here:  Download 2014 Travel Presentation revised.Lenny Loewentritt

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings, Issues: Travel | Permalink