March 17, 2016
OGE Website Update Tips From Wayne Johnson, HHSOGC
IEC Journal Readers
As most of you know the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website at www.oge.gov was shut down on February 28, 2016, when OGE's web contractor's contract ended and has been replaced with https://www2.oge.gov/. The end result being all of the old OGE web links went bad. OGE does not have a one to one list available of the old to new web links. Wayne Johnson with the HHSOGC-Ethics Division has been in communication with the Internal Operations Division at the OGE and he shares here their tips on how to find new OGE web addresses for specific topics or materials.
Be advised that not all of the old web links have been replaced with new ones. For example the OGE posters - http://www.oge.gov/Education/Education-Resources-for-Ethics-Officials/Resources/Ethics-Posters/ currently are unavailable online under the new system. Hopefully the poster link will be restored some time in the future. OGE also pulled a significant amount of outdated content (ROT). If there is old web content that you cannot find on the OGE www2 web site you should contact the OGE firstname.lastname@example.org or ContactOGE@oge.gov
Here are the tips OGE shared with Wayne.
Bing and Yahoo are ahead of Google in updating their search results set (thus getting more www2 hits).
Suggest you use the Search feature on the OGE site, you'll get a better results set especially if you use the Advanced Search. https://www2.oge.gov/Web/oge.nsf/viewsearch?openform
Check the Search Tips to refine your query, https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Information/Search+Tips?opendocument
The application supports Boolean logic so you can really get granular.
Docs returned: 241
Query: Walter Shaub
Docs returned: 117
Query: walter NOT shaub
Docs returned 124
Query: Walter Shaub Category = Legal Advisories
Docs returned: 19
OGE has started adding resources under Education on Education Resources for Ethics Officials https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Education+Resources+for+Ethics%20Officials
UnderLaws and Regulations -https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Laws%20and%20Regulations
All statutes are listed on the Statutes page -https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Statutes < Caution-https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Statutes >
Employee standards of conduct are also listed: https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Employee%20Standards%20of%20Conduct
Compilation of Federal Ethics Laws - is in a sub-menu under Statutes - https://www2.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Other+Statutes
OGE has added a view that shows all documents by their original folder paths. The paths are fairly descriptive and you may find it useful. - https://www2.oge.gov/Web/OGE.nsf/Documents%20by%20Original%20Folder%20Path?openview
A couple things going forward:
- The major search engines have not caught up with the OGE migration. They are still returning links to the old pages (http://www.oge.gov > instead of www2) generating 404 errors. OGE has reached out to Bing and Yahoo with success so they are in their queues. Google doesn't appear to use live people for anything so it is presenting more of a challenge.
- OGE found and pulled a significant amount of outdated content (ROT). Unfortunately part of this were a few common training courses, old, but still relevant. They are tracking them down and restoring them now.
August 12, 2015
OGE Hiring for Two Program Analysts
OGE is seeking two Program Analysts to serve within the Program Review Branch of the Compliance Division. Candidates who have strong analytical, organizational and communication skills are encouraged to apply. Primary duties of the position include participating in ethics program reviews and reviewing annual public financial disclosure reports filed by Presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed employees. While experience is preferred, OGE is willing to provide training to a qualified individual who exhibits potential.
It is anticipated that there will be significant interest in the announcement. Therefore, the announcement will close on 8/26/2015 OR at 11:59pm on the day the applicant cut-off of 100 is reached, whichever occurs first.
Interested candidates should refer to announcement 15-OGE-220 or 15-OGE-219-P (see links below). Questions about the position should be directed to Doug Chapman, Chief, Professional Staff Group 2, at 202-482-9223, or Dan Skalla, Chief, Professional Staff Group 1, at 202-482-9222.
To view the announcements, please click the following links:
June 29, 2015
Two Job Announcements from OGE
May 01, 2015
OGE Issues Legal Advisory on the Treatment of Gift Cards under the $20 De Minimis Gift Exception
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued a Legal Advisory discussing the treatment of prepaid gift cards under the $20 de minimis gift exception found at 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204(a). The Legal Advisory describes common types of prepaid gift cards and explains which are considered to be cash equivalents, and are therefore categorically prohibited under the de minimis exception.
For more information, please see Legal Advisory LA-15-04, dated April 30, 2015,
April 15, 2015
OGE Issues Legal Advisory on the Standards of Conduct and Social Media
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued a Legal Advisory discussing how the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Executive Branch Employees apply to employees’ personal social media activities. The Legal Advisory focuses on common issues such as whether an employee can reference his or her title on a personal social media account, and what rules apply to personal fundraising over social media.
The Legal Advisory LA-15-03, dated April 9, 2015, may be found here.
April 09, 2015
OGE Issues Guidance on "Free Attendance" at Speaking Engagements and WAGs
The guidance may be found here.
May 21, 2014
OGE Amendatory Rulemaking: Increased Gifts & Travel Reimbursements Reporting Thresholds as well as the Nonsponsor Widely Attended Gatherings Gift Exception Ceiling
The Office of Government Ethics has issued a final rule that amends the executive branch financial disclosure and standards of ethical conduct regulations. See 79 FR 28605-28606 (May 19, 2014) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-19/pdf/2014-11495.pdf. First, OGE has revised the executive branch financial disclosure regulation to reflect the statutory retroactive increase, applicable as of January 1, 2014, of the thresholds for reporting of gifts and travel reimbursements for both the public and confidential financial disclosure reports (OGE Form 278s and OGE Form 450s). The Ethics in Government Act and OGE regulations tie these increases to the General Services Administration’s recent increase in minimal value for purposes of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act notice in April of this year. See 79 FR 18477 (April 2, 2014). The new aggregation threshold for the reporting of gifts and reimbursements received from any one source on financial disclosure reports is “more than $375”; items worth “$150 or less” do not need to be counted towards that overall threshold.
The second part of OGE’s new rule has raised to $375 the maximum amount under the exception in the standards of conduct for nonsponsor gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings. This separate regulatory change became effective upon publication of the rulemaking document (May 19, 2014).
April 25, 2014
OGE Releases the Annual Report Pursuant To Executive Order 13490 “Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel”
OGE released the fifth annual report provided pursuant to the President’s Executive Order on Ethics (Executive Order 13490 of January 21, 2009, “Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel”). This report provides information about the efforts of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to ensure that agency officials implemented the Ethics Pledge appropriately. The report covers the period January 1 through December 31, 2013. This report is publicly available and can be found on our website at:
January 22, 2014
Announcing OGE’s New General Counsel
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics Announces:
OGE has appointed David J. Apol as General Counsel. Mr. Apol’s career has prepared him well for this position. For the past decade, he served as the Chief Counsel for Administrative Law at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, leading the administrative law program of a cabinet-level agency. Before that, he served as an Associate General Counsel at OGE, where his accomplishments included both working on ethics law reform in the United States and advising a foreign government on establishing its own ethics laws at a critical time of political change. Prior to coming to OGE, Mr. Apol served as Associate Counsel to the President, advising the President, the First Lady, and senior White House officials on ethics issues and the Presidential nominee financial disclosure program. He served as an executive branch agency ethics official at the Department of Labor from 1992 to 2000, where he was charged with establishing and then managing a new Department-wide ethics program. Previously, he served as a Counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee from 1987 to 1992. Prior to coming to Washington, Mr. Apol served as a Judge Advocate General Officer in the U.S. Army where he was responsible for ethics, administrative law, international law and contract law. He is a graduate of both Wheaton College and the University of Michigan Law School.
December 09, 2013
Notice of Modification of Routine Uses (a.) and (l.) in OGE/GOVT–1 System of Records
The following notice in today's Federal Register:
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) proposes to modify existing routine uses (a.) and (l.) to OGE/GOVT–1, Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports and Other Name-Retrieved Ethics Program Records (OGE/GOVT–1 System of Records). This action is necessary to comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act to publish in the Federal Register notice of the existence and character of records maintained by the agency (5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)).
October 18, 2013
OGE Provides Guidance on the Application of the Periodic Transaction Reporting Requirements during the Lapse in Appropriations
OGE has been asked by several agencies whether Government employees who are subject to the public filing requirements of the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) should have continued filing periodic transaction reports (OGE Form 278-T) during the lapse in appropriations.
While there is no authority in EIGA to suspend the filing requirement, an agency DAEO has authority to grant an extension to any employee who was unable to file a periodic transaction report during the lapse in appropriations. Under the circumstances of the lapse in appropriations, the extension may be granted retroactively. The extension may be up to 90days.
Beyond the 90-day extension deadline, the DAEO may waive the $200 late filing fee in “extraordinary circumstances.” An agency DAEO would be acting well within his or her discretion in determining that the lapse in appropriations is an “extraordinary circumstance.”
Below are two excerpts from a June 20, 2012 OGE Legal Advisory (LA-12-04) regarding periodic transaction reports that may be useful for agencies considering granting a filing extension or waiving a late filing fee.
Q10. May agencies grant extensions of filing deadlines? Yes. Subsection 101(g)(1) of EIGA provides for reasonable extensions for filing “any report,” but limits the total length of extensions to 90 calendar days. 5 U.S.C. app. 4, § 101(g)(1). An agency ethics official may grant extensions for good cause shown. 5 U.S.C. app. 4, § 101(g)(1); 5 C.F.R. § 2634.201(f). For example, an agency should toll the deadline while an employee is on official or personal travel at the time of notification or shortly after notification. If an extension pushes the deadline for a periodic transaction report beyond the deadline for subsequent periodic transaction reports, the deadline for all such reports will be the date on which the extension expires. In that case, the employee may combine all disclosures in a single periodic transaction report. Extensions may be granted before or after the filing deadline, but 90 days is the maximum total length of such extensions.
Q13. When should the $200 late filing fee be waived? Agencies have the authority under EIGA to waive the $200 fee in extraordinary circumstances. 5 U.S.C. app. 4, § 104(d)(2); 5 C.F.R. § 2634.704(b). . . . In some cases, the meaning of “extraordinary circumstances” is readily apparent. OGE’s regulations provide that an extraordinary circumstance exists when “the agency's failure to notify a new entrant, first-time annual filer, or termination filer of the requirement to file the public financial disclosure report . . . made the delay reasonably necessary.” 5 C.F.R. § 2634.704(b)(1). Likewise, an extraordinary circumstance logically exists when an employee has no legal right or ability to acquire transaction information before the deadline. Other non-exclusive examples of “extraordinary circumstances” include: a family emergency, such as illness, death, a flood, or a fire; the employee’s unawareness that a position to which the employee was transferred or detailed was subject to public filing; and agency administrative errors prevented the filer from filing reports on time. See OGE DAEOgram, DO-94-002 (January 14, 1994).
OGE will continue to provide guidance on ethics questions that arise as a result of the lapse in appropriations and the return to normal Government operations. As always, please feel free to contact your OGE Desk Officer if you require additional guidance or assistance.
September 30, 2013
OGE Issues a Legal Advisory on the Application of Ethics Laws to Federal Government Employees in the Event of a Government Shutdown
OGE has issued a legal advisory reminding Federal employees that the ethics laws and regulations would continue to apply while in a furlough status in the event of a Government shutdown. For more information, please see Legal Advisory LA-13-11, dated September 30, 2013:
August 20, 2013
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.”
June 28, 2013
OGE Issues Legal Advisory Regarding the Application of the $200 Penalty Provision to Late Periodic Transaction Reports
On Friday June 28, 2013, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issued Legal Advisory, LA-13-09, reminding ethics officials that OGE’s blanket waiver of the $200 late fee for periodic transaction reports will lapse on July 3, 2013.
Once OGE’s website service is restored, you will be able to access this Legal Advisory at: http://www.oge.gov/OGE-Advisories/Legal-Advisories/Legal-Advisories/
June 14, 2013
Government ethics office web site hacked
Unidentified hackers have shut down the federal government's main employee ethics website, The Washington Examiner has learned. Web visitors to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics website are greeted with a stern announcement stating, "Due to a significant and unexpected problem, our website is currently unavailable." A static slate offers a few phone numbers and an email address.
Vincent Salamone, an agency spokesman, confirmed the OGE web site was the victim of hackers. He said he believed the site has been down since June 10, but he wasn't quite sure. Salamone said officials have not identified the hackers but that that the agency's website runs on a software system called Ektron CMS, which was recently part of a larger attack by cyber intruders. "Our understanding is that other websites using this system may also have been hacked," he said. "We took our system off-line to ensure the integrity of our website and to protect our website's visitors," the spokesman said. "Currently, a technical team is working to restore service."
Ektron is a Nashua, New Hampshire-based web management company that has signed 94 contracts with federal departments and agencies valued at $1.9 billion, according to USASpending.gov. Ektron has provided services for many lesser-known federal departments ranging from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the National Science Foundation.
Activist hackers have frequently attacked U.S. Government web sites. A coterie that goes by the name Group Anonymous last month launched concerted attacks against a slew of government agencies. Dubbed OpUSA, the hackers tried unsuccessfully to shut down web sites at the U.S. Department of Defense, the Pentagon, the National Archives, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the White House.
May 17, 2013
OGE Position Opening: Supervisory Attorney Advisor (Program Counsel)
The Office of Government Ethics is seeking a motivated and highly-qualified candidate for an exciting full-time permanent position in the Program Counsel Division located in Washington D.C.
The Program Counsel Division (PCD) manages significant external communications between OGE and its many customers and stakeholders. The division combines key functions that cut across OGE mission areas in order to bring targeted resources to these functions.
Job posting may be found at USAJobs:
May 15, 2013
OGE Issues Summary of the Provisions of the 2013 Appropriations Act that Affect the Executive Branch Ethics Program
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued a Legal Advisory summarizing the provisions of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, that affect the Executive Branch ethics program, including new notification and reporting requirements for agencies that hold a conference during fiscal year 2013.
The Legal Advisory also reminds agencies that the three statutory pay-level thresholds for certain purposes under either the Ethics in Government Act or 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) will remain at 2011 levels as a result of the Act’s extension of the civilian pay freeze for federal employees through December 31, 2013. For more information, please see Legal Advisory LA-13-07 dated May 15, 2013, http://www.oge.gov/OGE-Advisories/Legal-Advisories/Legal-Advisories/
March 07, 2013
OGE Publishes Final Outside Board Exemption and Sector Unit Investment Trust Rule Amendments to 5 C.F.R. Part 2640
On March 6, 2013, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) published in the Federal Register a final rule amending the regulation that describes financial interests that are exempt from the prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 208(a). See 78 Fed. Reg. 14437-14442.
These final rule amendments revise the existing regulatory exemptions by: (1) creating a new exemption permitting Government employees to participate in particular matters affecting the financial interests of nonprofit organizations in which they serve in an official capacity as officer, director or trustee, and (2) revising the existing exemption for interests in the holdings of sector mutual funds to clarify that the exemption applies to interests in the holdings of sector unit investment trusts.
The rule becomes effective on Friday, April 5, 2013. Specific contact information is in the Federal Register notice. You may access the Federal Register notice via the OGE Website at: http://www.oge.gov/Laws-and-Regulations/Federal-Register-Issuances/Federal-Register-Issuances/
November 05, 2012
OGE Releases Updated Conference Guide for Ethics Counselors
There are numerous Federal acquisition, fiscal, and ethics laws and regulations that apply to the issues raised by conferences in which the Federal government participates. The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has issued an updated list of a selection of those laws and regulations and their interpretation. The first edition of this guide, "Conferences: A Guide for Ethics Counselors" dated May 2010, was distributed to attendees at the 2010 OGE National Ethics Conference. This updated version of the guide replaces the 2010 guide and can be found on the OGE website.
April 04, 2012
President signs STOCK Act
"On April 4, 2012, the President signed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act) (S. 2038). The Act establishes new requirements for Executive Branch ethics programs, ethics officials, and the thousands of employees who currently file financial disclosure reports pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act. OGE fully supports the Act’s focus on improving transparency and promoting public confidence in government and is carefully analyzing the provisions of the new law. In consultation with DAEOs and other senior agency ethics officials, OGE will issue a series of Legal, Program, and Education Advisories to implement the Act’s provisions.
Questions from agency ethics officials should be directed to the OGE Team that supports your agency. Media and related inquiries should be directed to Vincent Salamone at (202) 482-9292."
See STOCK Act: Download STOCK Act
March 22, 2012
STOCK Act passes Senate and heads to President
POLITICO reports (3/22/12 2:03pm):
After weeks of delays, the Senate on Thursday sent a bill banning congressional insider trading to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.
The Senate voted 96 to 3 to pass a watered-down STOCK Act, which would bar members of Congress, their staff and some federal workers from profiting from non-public information obtained through their jobs.
- Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74364.html
- Read CBS Story: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57402604-503544/congress-passes-scaled-back-stock-act/ (discussing drop of additional lobbyist registration amendment).
- Read Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/stock-act-senate-insider-trading-ban_n_1373081.html
- See OGE side-by-side comparison of House and Senate versions. http://www.oge.gov/About/Legislative-Affairs-and-Budget/Congressional-Correspondence/NEW--OGE-Comparison-of-Certain-Provisions-of-the-Senate-and-House-Versions-of-the-Stop-Trading-on-Congressional-Knowledge-Act-(STOCK-Act)(S--2038)/
February 29, 2012
OGE's side-by-side comparision of the STOCK Act
It is worthy to take a look at the Office of Government Ethics side-by-side comparison of the various versions of the STOCK Act, which could create a public, sort and searchable, database of financial disclosure information in an effort to stymie insider trading concerns. See Download S2038 side-by-side
January 01, 2012
2012 Ethics Calendar
As we begin the new year, where would be be without the 2012 OGE Schedule of Important Ethics Dates?
November 15, 2011
OGE extends comment period on proposed rule: Lobbyist gift ban for all
The Federal Register includes an extension of the comment period for the proposed amendment to 5 CFR 2635.203 which would extend the prohibition on acceptance of gifts from registered lobbyists to all Federal personnel (not just Political appointees under the Ethics Pledge). See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-11-15/pdf/2011-29569.pdf. Comments are now due NLT: December 14, 2011.
October 29, 2011
IEC Member Fights Link Rot on OGE Website
"Link rot" refers to the process whereby hypertext links to a website go bad, through redesign or other reasons. While the Office of Government Ethics website upgrade provided many improvements, it had the unfortunate effect of breaking many links that other websites had built to OGE.
IEC member Wayne Johnson has taken the initiative to compile a list of bad OGE links, and has generously shared it with us. Rather than try to squeeze his memo into this narrow space, we are making it available in two files for downloading, in your choice of formats:
Download OGE_Link_Corrections Hypertext version
Download OGE_Link_Corrections MS Word version
October 21, 2011
OGE Conference Archives
Need to access the archives of the 2011 OGE Conference? The OGE website contains links to the archives of conferences back to 2005, but there is currently no link for the 2011 conference. The archives are available here (http://ethicsconf18.crowdcompass.com/activities).
September 30, 2011
Proposed OGE changes to Qualified Trust regs
The Office of Government Ethics proposes to amend the executive branch regulation regarding qualified trusts. The proposed amendments would make a few minor substantive changes, but would primarily put the regulation in a more logical order, make it more readable, and eliminate redundant provisions. See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-30/pdf/2011-25221.pdf
September 29, 2011
Discussion on OGE proposal to expand Lobbying Gift Ban to all Federal Employees
Washington Post article discussing the proposed OGE rule to expand lobbying gift ban to all Federal employees. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/limits-tighten-for-lobbyist-gift-giving/2011/09/28/gIQAh6RT5K_story.html
OGE Leadership Resources
Since everyone seriously interested in ethics issues should subscribe to OGE's mailing list, to avoid duplication we usually avoid reposting OGE mailing list items here. However, the following item seemed particularly valuable, so we'll republish it here, in the interest of providing another place for researchers to locate it:
A Reminder of Resources Available to Ethics Officials - Leadership Involvement
Are you looking for new ways to involve leadership in the ethics program?
One agency increased the number of reports timely filed by having filer’s submit their reports directly to their Director’s office. Another agency included leadership in the process to identify annual training content. Read more about these practices HERE.
Another resource available is the Leadership Initiative which contains more than 50 concrete actions leadership can take to promote an ethical culture and to show support of your ethics program. Lastly, you may find ideas in the leadership section of the Final Report issued for the Cabinet-Level Benchmarking project last year.
September 22, 2011
No more gifts from Lobbyists?
In a September 18, 2011, posting, we alerted you to the proposed OGE expansion of the Ethics Pledge lobbyist gift ban to all career Federal employees. If you did not see it, please note that the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for notice and comment. See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-09-13/pdf/2011-23311.pdf. Comments are due before November 14, 2011.
In sum, the proposed rule would make certain exceptions to the general prohibition on gifts from outside sources, 5 CFR 2635.202, unavailable for gifts from registered lobbyists. The exceptions that would be unavailable would include the $20 deminimus & widely-attended gathering exceptions. It would also provide implementing guidance. For example, it defines the lobbysts for these purposes to exclude 501(c)(3) non-profit lobbyists.
September 18, 2011
OGE Conference Thoughts (Open Thread)
A rew reactions to the 2011 OGE Conference:
- Excellent overall organization, with many thoughtful touches to enhance the learning experience. OGE deserves credit for being willing to experiment with something as innovative as the smartphone app, though there were a few glitches. Some felt that the related website was a less than optimal solution for those without smartphones, while not everyone with a smartphone was enamoured with the app.
- There are a lot of smart people throughout the government doing a lot of smart things. The conference provides a great start on improving efficiency through inter-agency sharing, but resource limitations and institutional constraints put a limit on what OGE can do. There is more that the IEC, and this website in particular could do to fill the gaps.
We have enabled the Comments function to allow others to share their impressions.
OGE Proposes to Expand Lobbyist Gift Ban
The Hill reports:
A new regulation proposed this week by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) would prohibit all federal government employees from accepting any gifts from lobbyists.
Originally, the absolute ban on lobbyist gifts was only applied to political appointees, per President Obama’s executive order on ethics that was signed early on in his administration. But if the proposed rule is finalized, it would expand the order’s tough restrictions on lobbyist gifts to career employees in the federal government as well.
The regulation also would codify the stringent lobbyist gift ban implemented by Obama’s executive order, meaning the strict limits on the interaction between lobbyists and the Obama administration would stay in place after Obama leaves the White House, unless Congress repeals them or the next president initiates another rule-making procedure to amend the regulation. “What this means is that these broader restrictions will go beyond the Obama administration. They will exist even after he leaves office,” Kenneth Gross, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, told The Hill.
Thanks to the IEC member who provided this tip.
September 13, 2011
Reminder: Support for OGC Conference
- Would you like to keep the conversation going after the conference? We can help. We can post a conversation starter entry here and enable comments. It's an easy way to keep the conversation going, at no cost to you.
- Does your slide show have animations or speaker notes that won't be visible through the static PDF reproductions available through the OGE site?
- Would you prefer to give your audiences better options for reprinting your handouts (like easy multiple slides per page) rather than one slide per page?
- Did you complete your handouts for the 2011 OGE conference too late for distribution through the OGE website?
We are glad to help in any of these ways. Contact us by e-mail or catch up with one of our reporters at the conference (e-mail address & list of reporters in sidebar at left).
September 08, 2011
OGE Website Upgrade
Here are some preliminary impressions of the recent Office of Government Ethics website improvements. The improved appearance & shorter URL (oge.gov vs. usoge.gov; latter will “redirect” for a time) are superficial but very welcome.
The more substantive improvements include:
1. A complete rethinking of the site structure, leading to improved navigation. This is probably the most important upgrade.
You can use RSS feeds with more recent versions of MS Internet Explorer or MS Outlook, but many will prefer alternatives like Google Reader. If you have been wondering whether to adopt RSS, this could be the tipping point. It is a powerful tool.
Like a new house, the new website will need a few tweaks here and there. One item for the punchlist: When clicking on links on the page with information about previous OGE conferences, attempting to access archived information results in an error message.
Bottom Line: A giant upgrade over previous OGE Web efforts.
July 29, 2011
OGE Announces Plan to Upgrade Website
From the OGE mailing list:
New OGE Website Coming Soon!
In late August 2011, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics will unveil a new and improved website, at www.oge.gov. The new site is designed to provide a more friendly user experience for all user groups, including ethics practitioners, executive branch employees, and members of the general public. The site will offer more intuitive navigation, and robust research tools will allow content to be searched by topic, date, and legal citation. You can preview the site by clicking here.
Note: As a result of the redesign, links to the current site (www.usoge.gov) will no longer work once the new site goes live.
July 22, 2011
Washington Post article on OGE's 2011 Conference
Entitled, "Sun, Spa, Golf & Ethics" the article raises public perception concerns about the location of the OGE conference. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ethics-on-the-links-in-orlando/2011/07/21/gIQAhk0aSI_print.html
July 01, 2011
OGE updates regs for gift reporting
The Office of Government Ethics issued its final rule (technical amendment) increasing the financial disclosure reporting threshold for gifts from $335 to $350, to correspond with the Foreign Gifts & Decorations Act. See 5 CFR 2634.304 and 2634.907(g). The rule is effective July 1, 2011, and retroactive to January 1, 2011. The rule also increases the threshold for exclusion for individual items from $135 to $140. The amendment also increases the gift exception ceiling for non-sponsor gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings. See 5 CFR 2635.204(g).
See Fed. Reg. notice at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-07-01/pdf/2011-16642.pdf.
June 30, 2011
OGE Travel Expenses Questioned
A website named Junketsleuth, which bills its purpose as "exposing government travel excesses" has an article criticizing travel expenses incurred by the Office of Government Ethics in support of U.S. efforts in promoting international ethics and anti-corruption programs.
The OGE response is available.
May 29, 2011
OGE Resources for Dealing With Contractors in the Workplace
A subscription to the OGE mailing list (address in right column) is a must for all federal ethics officials. Last week's post on resources for dealing with contractors in the workplace is a good example. The resources include:
For employees -
- Working with Contractors: What You Need to Know (Web-based training module)
- Working with Government Contractors: What You Need to Know as a Federal Employee Who Works with Government Contractors (Booklet)
For ethics officials/trainers -
- Ethics and Working With Contractors, DAEOgram (06-023a) (2006). DAEOgram in Q&A format.
May 16, 2011
OGE Seeks Program Excellence & Innovation Nominees
May 27 is the deadline for nominations for the OGE Program Excellence and Innovation Awards.
May 03, 2011
OGE Seeks Nominations for Program Excellence/Innovation Awards
OGE's solicitation of excellence and innovation nominations is available. The deadline for nominations is May 27. The awards will be presented at the OGE conference in September.
March 07, 2011
OGE Conference: Call for Topics
OGE is seeking topic suggestions for the 18th National Government Ethics Conference. The conference will be held September 13 - 15, 2011 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. The deadline for topic suggestions is March 17.
March 05, 2011
OGE Opinions on CyberFEDS
The CyberFEDS legal research service, popular among lawyers working on personnel and EEO matters, includes Office of Government Ethics opinions in their database. After limited testing, the search features appear to be highly flexible. A screen capture showing the OGE option is available:
February 14, 2011
OGE Seeks Honors Attorney (GS-9)
The United States Office of Government Ethics is establishing an Honors Attorney position. This position, open to recent law school graduates from the classes of 2009 and 2010, is a three year term limited term appointment with promotion potential to GS-12. To see full details visit: http://www.usoge.gov/careers.aspx.
January 16, 2011
SF 450 Review Checklist
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) was gracious enough to provide their formatted user-friendly, one-page checklist to help with OGE Form 450 reviews. It is based on their interpretation of materials and notes from an OGE course.
We very much appreciate PHMSA's generous spirt, and we strongly encourage other IEC members to share their similar work products. We can all operate more efficiently if we are not constantly reinventing the wheel. We have been receiving many more user contributions this month. Please help continue this desirable trend!
January 15, 2011
Jane Ley Article on Standards of Conduct History
Check out an article by Jane Ley (OGE’s Deputy Director for the Office of International Assistance & Governance Initiatives) chronicling the history of the executive branch’s ethics program. The article, which appears in India’s Performance Matters newsletter, discusses the evolution of the Standards of Conduct, originally based on 6 principles issued by President Johnson in the 1960’s, to their present-day form. It reveals the genesis of OGE’s role in reviewing Presidential nominees and outlines the development of OGE’s training, counseling, and oversight activities. If you don’t know your ethics history, you should check it out.
Since that issue of Performance Matters magazine is a slow 40 MB download, we have taken the liberty of providing Ms. Ley's article in a stand-alone 3.5 MB file:
Thanks to the IEC member who provided this wonderful tip!
EDITED Jan. 20 to correct typo.
December 22, 2010
OGE Ethics Specialist vacancy (GS 09)
The United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is seeking a GS-09 Government Ethics Specialist to join a team of dedicated professionals in OGE’s Office of Agency Programs. The ideal candidate will have superb organizational, analytical, and communication skills and a strong desire to make a positive and practical impact in the Federal Government. The Job Opportunity Announcement (11-OGE-005P) closes on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.
Please click on the link below for more information and to apply for the position: http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=95066815&JobTitle=Government+Ethics+Specialist&q=11-OGE-005P&sort=rv%2c-dtex&rad_units=miles&brd=3876&pp=25&qt=default&vw=b&re=134&FedEmp=N&FedPub=Y&caller=advanced.aspx&AVSDM=2010-12-22+10%3a47%3a00
Questions about the position should be directed to Dale Christopher, Associate Director, Program Services Division, at 202-482-9224.
December 09, 2010
OGE Ethics Specialist vacancy (GS 12)
The United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is seeking a GS-12 Government Ethics Specialist to join a team of dedicated professionals in OGE’s Office of Agency Programs. The ideal candidate will have superb organizational, analytical, and communication skills and a strong desire to make a positive and practical impact in the Federal Government.
The Job Opportunity Announcement (11-OGE-004) closes on Thursday, December 23, 2010.
Please click on the link below for more information and to apply for the position: http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=94591569&JobTitle=Government+Ethics+Specialist&q=11-OGE-004&where=&brd=3876&vw=b&FedEmp=Y&FedPub=Y&x=0&y=0&AVSDM=2010-12-09+00%3a03%3a00
Questions about the position should be directed to Dale Christopher, Associate Director, Program Services Division, at 202-482-9224 or Trish Zemple, Associate Director, Program Review Division, at 202-482-9286.
November 13, 2010
OGE 2009 Prosecution Survey
The Office of Government Ethics issued DAEOgram DO-10-017 on November 9, 2010 announcing the publication of the 2009 Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey. The survey contains summaries of cases involving conflict of interest violations. The Department of Justice prosecuted the cases. See http://www.usoge.gov/ethics_guidance/daeograms/dgr_files/2010/do10017.pdf
Posted by Account Deleted in Inspectors General, Issues: Conflicts of Interest, Issues: Financial Disclosure, Issues: Gifts, Issues: Misuse of Govt. Resources, Issues: Misuse of Position, Issues: Outside Activities, Issues: Post Employment, OGE | Permalink
September 17, 2010
Tracing Broken Links
We received a request via e-mail concerning one of our old postings:
Is the following training still available? OnlineTraining: Working with Contractors: What You Need to Know
When I click on the link it says page is not found. Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated.
Reproducing the answer may help others understand how they can help themselves when they have similar questions:
Like many organizations, OGE has been known to rearrange its website, breaking addresses. You could try contacting OGE and asking them about it. It might not be easy to find the responsible person at OGE. Therefore, it is probably more efficient to first try to track down the new address yourself. Self-help is good in this situation.
This is one of the reasons we include the link to a customized OGE Google search engine at iecjournal.org. It searches only the OGE site. In this case, a search on the phrase "Working With Contractors: What You Need to Know" leads to:
One of the links there has training about working with contractors.
If the site you are searching does not have a customized search engine, you can get a similar result by including the word "site:" before the name of the website to be searched. For example, to search the U.S. Treasury web site for information about ethics, use the search term "ethics site:treasury.gov". Look under the "Advanced Searches" tab at Google for more information about this and other search techniques.