March 31, 2014
USPS Workers Went Bowling, Gambling Using Agency Credit Cards
GovExec.com reports: U.S. Postal Service employees used agency credit cards to pay for gambling sprees, bowling games and personal travel, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
One manager used her card to withdraw $32,000 in cash to gamble, according to Freedom of Information Act documents obtained by the Examiner. Closed investigations by the USPS inspector general found the manager also used her card to rent cars for personal use, charging the agency a total of $45,000 in personal expenses. The employee repaid the money and took an early retirement offer.
A second employee also withdrew $2,400 from her agency card to gamble. She too repaid the debt after initially claiming she used her government card accidentally. She has since been fired.
The Postal Service said the actions of a few do not represent its workforce of nearly 500,000. “We take any claim of employee misconduct very seriously,” USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer told Government Executive. “Cases like this are thoroughly investigated and action is then taken to ensure compliance with Postal Service policies as well as applicable state and federal laws. Postal Service employees are hard-working, responsible and exceptional employees.”
March 27, 2014
Commanders fired in nuke missile cheating scandal
The Washington Post reports:
The Air Force fired nine mid-level nuclear commanders Thursday and will discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base in response to an exam-cheating scandal that spanned a far longer period than originally reported. Air Force officials called the moves unprecedented in the history of the intercontinental ballistic missile force.
The Associated Press last year revealed a series of security and other problems in the nuclear force, including a failed safety and security inspection at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., where the cheating happened.
In a bid to correct root causes of the missile corps’ failings — including low morale and weak management — the Air Force also announced a series of new or expanded programs to improve leadership development, to modernize the three ICBM bases and to reinforce “core values” including integrity.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, the service’s top civilian official, had promised to hold officers at Malmstrom accountable once the cheating investigation was completed and the scope of the scandal was clear. None of the nine fired commanders was directly involved in the cheating, but each was determined to have failed in his or her leadership responsibilities.
March 26, 2014
DEPUTY DIRECTOR VACANCY AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, DEPARTMENTAL ETHICS OFFICE
The U.S. Department of Justice, Departmental Ethics Office (DEO) is seeking candidates for a challenging and dynamic, full-time, GS-15 Supervisory Attorney-Advisor (Deputy Director of DEO) position in its Washington, DC office. DEO administers the Department-wide ethics program. DEO offers advice and guidance to Department employees and managers on the interpretation and application of the Federal ethics statutes, rules and regulations, it administers the financial disclosure program, and it provides ethics training. This position includes being the first-line supervisor for the DEO staff. DOJ is an equal opportunity employer. Individuals interested in applying should visit the vacancy posting at
Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, April 21, 2014.
Attorneys ask judge to try former Va. governor and his wife separately
Former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife want separate trials on the federal corruption charges they both are facing, saying in court filings late Tuesday that a joint proceeding would prevent Maureen McDonnell, in particular, from taking the witness stand to exonerate her husband.
The filings — which came on the same day that the couple’s attorneys asked a judge to toss the charges against them outright — suggest that Maureen McDonnell is willing to testify that her husband was largely in the dark about her interactions with Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., and that the couple could not have engaged in a conspiracy to lend the prestige of the governor’s office to Williams’s struggling dietary supplement company, Star Scientific.
Prosecutors alleged such a conspiracy in January, when the McDonnells were charged in a 14-count indictment that accused them of receiving gifts and loans from Williams totaling at least $165,000. In exchange, prosecutors alleged, Robert McDonnell hosted a product launch for Star’s dietary supplement, Anatabloc; promoted it at public events; arranged meetings between Williams and senior state health officials; and worked with his wife to encourage state researchers to consider conducting trials of the product. The McDonnells have pleaded not guilty and a trial is scheduled to begin in July.
March 20, 2014
Former Congressional Chief of Staff Sued Over Financial Disclosure Filing Failure
The Legal Times reports: The U.S. Department of Justice is suing a former congressional chief of staff for allegedly failing to file a financial disclosure report. Joseph Hunter, who served as chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, never filed a final financial disclosure when he left Congress in January 2009, according to the civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In an email, Hunter said he thought he had filed the disclosure at issue and that "any oversight on my part is purely inadvertent." He said he would be contacting the Justice Department right away to resolve the problem.
From 2009 to 2012, the House Committee on Ethics sent annual letters asking him to send the disclosure, with no success, according to the complaint. The committee sent a final notice in August 2012, which, the Justice Department alleged, Hunter acknowledged receiving by signing a certified mail receipt. Hunter faces a maximum civil penalty of $50,000. Hunter did not have an attorney listed and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. He recently has served as communications director for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. The case hasn't been assigned to a judge and no hearings are scheduled.
Vacancies at the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The USDA Office of Ethics is seeking motivated and highly-qualified candidates for two exciting, full-time, GS-14 Ethics Program Advisor positions 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/364756600
Applications must be submitted no later than Wednesday, April 02, 2014.
March 19, 2014
Next IEC Meeting April 3: Hatch Act Update
Please join us for the next IEC meeting on April 3: Ms. Ana Galindo-Marrone, Chief, Hatch Act Unit at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel will give an update on the latest Hatch Act developments including the impact of its recent amendment. This is not to be missed!
The meeting will be held at the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Floor 8, 12:15.
See you there!
March 14, 2014
Hatch Act and 501(c)(4) Organizations
The following frequently asked question was recently added to the Office of Special Counsel’s website:
What is a partisan political group or organization? For example, are entities organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code [501(c)(4) organizations] partisan political groups for purposes of the Hatch Act?
Answer: “Partisan political groups or organizations” are committees, clubs and other organizations that affiliate with a political party or candidate for political office in a partisan election. The term also includes committees, clubs and other organizations that are organized for a partisan political purpose. 501(c)(4) organizations are organized to promote social welfare and may participate in some political activity on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office, provided such activity is not their primary activity. In light of their purpose, OSC has concluded that they are not partisan political groups for purposes of the Hatch Act.
However, because 501(c)(4) organizations may participate in some political activity, employees should be cautious about engaging in any 501(c)(4)-related activity while at work. For example, the Hatch Act would prohibit an employee from forwarding an email from a 501(c)(4) organization if that email advocates for or against a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
March 11, 2014
Vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security
Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeks an ethics subject matter expert with strong interpersonal skills to serve as Deputy Chief Ethics Officer. For more information, please see the job posting here:
Job Openings: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
ETHICS ADVICE AND POLICY BRANCH Attorney Advisor GS 905 - 11/12/13/14 (Multiple Vacancies)
The Office of the General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking to fill several advisory-attorney positions (GS 11/12/13/14) for its Ethics Division, which provides legal services involving federal criminal conflict of interest statutes, standards of ethical conduct regulations, financial disclosure requirements, procurement integrity provisions, lobbying rules, and Hatch Act political activity restrictions.
Ethics Division attorneys work closely with the White House Counsel’s Office and the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) in clearing new Presidential appointees in the Senate confirmation process and also provide, in consultation with state bar authorities, guidance on legal ethics and professional responsibility issues. Although the positions will have generalist ethics responsibilities, depending upon staffing needs, the positions may be focused on providing these services to a principal client agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The duty station for the positions may be at the HHS headquarters in Washington, DC, or at an Ethics Division satellite office in Silver Spring, MD.
Candidates must have strong writing, oral, and analytical skills and be adept at working with and advising clients. Knowledge of federal or state government ethics law, professional responsibility rules, political activity restrictions, procurement integrity, or related subjects is preferred, but recent law graduates and other attorneys with a strong interest in the subject matter will be considered. Knowledge of food and drug law, or the legal framework for health and social services programs, will be considered a plus.
Salary currently ranges from $63,091 (Grade 11, Step 1) to $138,136, (Grade 14, Step 10), depending upon experience. This is an open continuous announcement. The first deadline for application packages will be April 10, 2014. Review of applications will begin after this date. All applications received on or before this date will receive first consideration. After this deadline, applications will be considered as needed on a rolling basis until the vacancies are filled.
To be considered, applicants must email to OGCEthicsVacancy@hhs.gov the following items: (1) a cover letter summarizing relevant experience; (2) a résumé; (3) a list of three references; (4) law school transcripts (required only if the applicant has graduated within the last five years); and (5) two writing samples.
Those individuals who are unable to submit materials electronically may send hard copies to Elizabeth J. Fischmann, Deputy Associate General Counsel, Attention: Linda Conte, Operations Specialist, HHS/OGC/Ethics Division, Room 710-E, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20201. These career positions are in the Excepted Service under a Schedule A appointment. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
If selected, an applicant must submit, prior to appointment, (1) an SF 85P, Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions; (2) a copy of the applicant’s state bar card or a certificate of good standing from all jurisdictions in which the applicant holds an active license to practice law; and (3) within thirty (30) days of entrance on duty, an OGE 450 Confidential Financial Disclosure Form. HHS is an equal opportunity employer and a smoke-free workplace.
March 05, 2014
Ethics Coordinator Opening at the Federal Reserve Board
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is seeking an energetic and organized individual with experience administering a federal ethics program to serve as the Board’s Ethics Coordinator. For more information, please see the job posting here: