November 24, 2014
Audit: IRS not doing enough to prevent conflicts of interest
The Washington Post reports: Dozens of Internal Revenue Service employees have earned money preparing tax filings since 2009 in violation of agency policy, and one pleaded guilty last year to illegally accessing taxpayer data to conduct a private business, according to federal auditors.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued those findings as part of a report this week on how well the IRS is detecting and preventing conflicts of interest within its workforce.
IRS personnel are not generally barred from outside work, but they need special approval to ensure that their actions with the agency would not benefit them personally. The audit found that only about half of the 6,000 IRS staffers who held other jobs in 2011 had obtained the required authorization.
November 21, 2014
Vacancy Announcement – Attorney-Advisor, Ethics & General Legal Services, Office of Chief Counsel, Transportation Security Administration. (Salary Range: K Band - $107,033 -$165,907).
TSA’s Office of Chief Counsel is looking to hire a motivated and highly-qualified full-time attorney to join the Ethics and General Legal Services Section, General Law Division. TSA Ethics & General Legal Services attorneys provide ethics advice, counseling, and training to TSA employees at all levels of the organization. Applicants must have a minimum of 3 years substantive legal work experience in federal agency ethics. Further, applicants must be at the GS-14 level (or equivalent) or above for at least one year prior to the closing date of this announcement. Applicants should also possess the ability to supervise the work of others.
TSA is on a special pay scale. This position is at the K-band level with a salary range of $107,-33 -$165,907. To be considered for the position, please forward a resume, no later than Friday, December 5, 2014 to Mary Kate Whalen, Deputy General Counsel for General Law through Valerie Blocker at Valerie.email@example.com.
Next IEC Meeting: December 4; Travel Updates
Please join us at the next IEC meeting where Lenny Lowentritt, Deputy General Counsel at GSA, will discuss the latest in the travel rules. Mr. Lowentritt asks that you bring questions to the meeting!
December 4 at U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Washington, Floor 8 at 12:15.
November 17, 2014
IG: Energy Lab Lobbied Officials for $2.4 Billion No-Bid Contract
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.
November 10, 2014
Attorney-Advisor Opening at National Science Foundation
The link to the position may be found here
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.
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.
October 28, 2014
OSC Files Complaint for Disciplinary Action in Hatch Act Case
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:
Applications must be submitted no later than Friday, November 7, 2014.
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