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

September 26, 2014

DOD- Paralegal Specialist Opening

The Department of Defense Defense Legal Services Agency has a Paralegal Specialist opening, closing on October 7.  See the USAJobs link here

Posted by IEC Team Leader in Help Wanted | Permalink

September 12, 2014

IEC Meeting: October 2; Mr. Rodney Grandon, Air Force Deputy General Counsel for Contractor Responsibility

Please join us for the next IEC meeting on October 2, featuring speaker Rodney Grandon.

Mr. Grandon is the Air Force's Deputy General Counsel for Contractor Responsibility, and he serves as the Air Force's Suspending and Debarring Official. His comments will provide an overview of contractor responsibility, as structured by Subpart 9.4 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.  Starting with the notion that the US Government does business only with responsible contractors, the discussion will explore what the Air Force, as a customer, expects from its contractors in terms of performance, compliance, and ethics.  The discussion also will address steps taken by industry to promote "best practices" in the areas of compliance and ethics, with a focus on how the defense industry has embraced values-based ethics as a "best practice."  Notwithstanding the best compliance and ethics programs, contractors will continue to experience misconduct within their organizations.  The discussion will explore the need for suspension and debarment when contractor misconduct is identified, focusing on the tools and the steps necessary to determine whether there is a need to protect the government from non-responsible contractors through suspension and debarment.

The meeting will be held at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Floor 8, at 12:15.   See you there!

Posted by IEC Team Leader in IEC Meetings | Permalink