August 27, 2013
Texas Lt. Gov. pulled rank while trying to get relative out of jail
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), in a newly released audio recording, refers to his office and his work to support law enforcement while trying to get a relative out of jail. In the audio, first reported by the NBC affiliate in Dallas, Dewhurst doesn’t make any threats. But he does repeatedly refer to his job title and his work with law enforcement, calling himself its “No. 1 pick.”
“This is David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor of the state of Texas,” Dewhurst introduces himself on the Aug. 3 call to the police department in Allen, Tex., a Dallas suburb. “And I want to talk to the senior officer who is there at your department right now.” After the person who answers the phone asks Dewhurst to clarify, Dewhurst repeats that he is the lieutenant governor.
After waiting on hold for a couple minutes, he is transferred to a sergeant, whom Dewhurst asks to spell his name and then repeats that he is the lieutenant governor. Later, Dewhurst tells the sergeant that two officials will call the sergeant after he does to verify that he was, in fact, the lieutenant governor.
Dewhurst says he believes his relative was arrested on a “mistaken charge” of shoplifting and refers to his support for law enforcement. “Sergeant, you don’t know me,” Dewhurst says. “I am every year the No. 1 pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas — their No. 1 pick, all right? You don’t know it, but I’m a supporter of you, and I’m a supporter of everybody in law enforcement. And I want you to do whatever is the proper thing, ’cause this lady is not — I know in my heart — is not involved in intentionally walking out and stealing $57.”
The woman in jail is the daughter-in-law of Dewhurst’s stepsister. She was arrested after being accused of shoplifting at a grocery store.
Dewhurst’s office maintains he did nothing improper in the call and that he never asked the police to do anything out of the ordinary.
August 22, 2013
Law Review Article on Emoluments Clause
Mr. Jeff Green, Senior Attorney at the Department of Defense Standards of Conduct Office recently published a law review article that summarizes the Emoluments Clause and its applicability to retired military. It also discusses the remedy of debt collection. You can view the article at the following link:
Next IEC Meeting, September 5
Please join us at the next IEC meeting when Ruth Vetter, from DLA, will address the group on the various issues that arise when you receive an invitation. Whether it is the Pledge, political activities or post-Government employment, this presentation will be a great summary of all the ethics rules that could apply when you receive an invitation.
The meeting will be held at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Floor 8 from 12:15-1:15. See you there!
August 20, 2013
General Counsel Opening at Office of Government Ethics
There is an opening for General Counsel at the Office of Government Ethics. Full details may be seen at the USAjobs link
OGE Issues Legal Advisory on the Effect of United States v. Windsor on the Executive Branch Ethics Programs
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued a Legal Advisory providing guidance on the effect of United States v. Windsor on the federal ethics provisions that use the terms “spouse,” “marriage,” and “relative.” For more information, please see Legal Advisory LA-13-10, dated August 19, 2013, http://www.oge.gov/OGE-Advisories/Legal-Advisories/LA-13-10--Effect-of-the-Supreme-Court-s-Decision-in-United-States-v--Windsor-on-the-Executive-Branch-Ethics-Program/
In addition, OGE has provided the following suggested language approved by the Department of Justice that agency ethics officials may use to proactively notify all agency employees of these new requirements:
“On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, federal ethics rules will now apply to employees in same-sex marriages in the same way that they apply to all married employees.
The ethics rules affect married employees in a number of ways. If you are required to file a public or confidential financial disclosure report, you must include your spouse’s finances on your next report. In addition, your spouse’s financial interests are treated as if they were your own under the conflict of interest laws. For example, you may not work on any assignments that will affect your spouse’s financial interests.
Although the criminal conflict of interest statutes and the financial disclosure reporting requirements do not apply in the same manner to employees in domestic partnerships or civil unions, employees in domestic partnerships or civil unions might still be disqualified from working on assignments affecting their partners or members of their households.
If you have any questions about the ethics rules that apply to married employees, please contact your agency’s ethics office.”
August 16, 2013
Senior Level Ethics Official Opening at The Indian Health Service
The Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced a vacancy for an experienced senior level ethics official. The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Please view the announcement by clicking this link https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/349675100
August 14, 2013
McDonnell Returns "Tangible" Gifts from Donor
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said he has returned all “tangible” gifts that were given to him and his family members by a wealthy political supporter but declined to detail a list of those items.
Rich Galen, a spokesman for McDonnell’s legal team, said Tuesday that McDonnell did not intend to release an itemized accounting of the items returned to Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of a dietary supplement company whose relationship with McDonnell is the subject of state and federal investigations.People familiar with the situation have said Williams’s gifts to the governor’s family included $15,000 worth of high-end clothing purchased for McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, at Bergdorf Goodman in New York and a $6,500 Rolex watch, engraved with the words “71st Governor of Virginia,” that Williams bought for the governor at Maureen McDonnell’s urging. Galen said Tuesday that the Rolex watch, as a tangible gift, was one of the items the governor returned.
August 08, 2013
U.S. Army general improperly accepted gifts in South Korea, report says
A three-star Army general improperly accepted gold-plated Montblanc pens, a $2,000 leather briefcase and other gifts from a South Korean citizen while commanding U.S. troops in that country, newly released documents show.
Joseph F. Fil Jr., the former commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in South Korea, also failed to report a $3,000 cash gift to a member of his family from the unnamed South Korean benefactor, according to a confidential investigative report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General.
Materials from August 1 IEC Meeting
Handouts and powerpoint from Paul Conrad's presentation at the August 1 IEC meeting are attached. Paul spoke about using various media in ethics training and the copyright issues that are involved.
August 05, 2013
Former Homeland Security Supervisor Heads to Prison
A former manager at the Homeland Security Department is going to prison for taking nearly $13,000 in bribes from a government contractor.
A U.S. District Court judge recently sentenced Derek Matthews, 47, of Harwood, Md., to 15 months in prison and one year of supervised release for using his position at the Federal Protective Service to help a security service firm win more than $31 million in government contracts. Matthews pleaded guilty in April.
Matthews, who served as deputy assistant director for operations at FPS and later was promoted to regional director for the national capital region, netted $12,500 in bribes from Keith Hedman, an executive at an Arlington, Va., consulting firm, known as Company B in court documents. Company B was a shell company Hedman set up to obtain federal contracts set aside for minority-owned and disadvantaged small businesses.
Hedman in 2011 agreed to pay Matthews $50,000 in monthly installments over a year and a percentage of profits from new business in exchange for Matthews’ help finding and winning contracts. Matthews, who supervised 13,000 employees and 9,000 federal buildings in his job, received three monthly payments before investigators interrupted the scheme.
Energy Department investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers
Congress pressed the Energy Department on Thursday for answers over allegations that it retaliated against employees who spoke to a watchdog about discriminatory hiring processes at a federal nonprofit agency within the department’s jurisdiction.
Admonishing officials during an oversight hearing, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Bonneville Power Administration employees were ordered by top-level Energy Department leaders “not to speak with anyone outside of BPA” about the division’s reportedly discriminatory hiring process.
“Let me be perfectly clear, retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal, and I will not stand for it,” Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, declared in his opening statement.