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United States Office of Government Ethics, Preventing Conflicts of Interest in the Executive Branch

Legal Advisories

The Legal Advisories page contains the DAEOgrams on substantive ethics issues published by OGE from 1992 to 2010, the Advisory Opinions published by OGE from 1979 to 2010, and the Legal Advisories, which OGE began publishing in 2011. On occasion, OGE will add notes to past guidance documents when that guidance is updated or superseded by law, regulation, or subsequent OGE guidance.

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DO-96-053: Final Rule on 18 U.S.C. § 208pdf
OGE issues final rule describing circumstances under which the prohibitions contained in 18 U.S.C. § 208(a) would be waived.


96x22: Regulations Applicable to Federal Employee Working on Presidential Campaignpdf
OGE discusses the ethics regulations that apply in the case of a Federal employee, who is a high-ranking official of a department, and who works for a presidential campaign on issues related to his department's program.


96x21: Application of 18 U.S.C. § 207pdf
OGE discusses whether an employee's proposed post-employment activities would implicate the restriction of 18 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1).


96x20: When a Discount is Not a Giftpdf
A "discount" on automobile insurance offered to those who were a GS-11 or above was not a gift within the meaning of the Standards of Conduct. The discount is based on actuarial statistics demonstrating that the cost of providing insurance to those in the discount group is less than the cost of providing insurance to others.


96x19: 18 U.S.C. § 207 Exemption for Representations on Behalf of Indian Tribespdf
The primary statute applicable to negotiating for future employment by an executive branch official is 18 U.S.C. § 208. The post-employment restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207 contains an exemption from the application of its restrictions for representations made on behalf of Indian tribes. [Note: Executive Order 12834, referenced in this letter, has been revoked.]


DO-96-038: Renewal of OGE 201 (Revised) and SF 278pdf
OGE obtained OMB approval for renewal for three years of a revised OGE Form 201 (July 1996 edition) and an unmodified SF 278.


DO-96-037: Interim Rule for Hatch Act Amendmentspdf
OGE publishes interim rule making technical amendments to various sections of the Standards of Conduct so that they conform with the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 (HARA). These changes do not purport to provide substantive guidance as to the HARA.


96x18: Golf Tournaments Held Simultaneously with a Conferencepdf
OGE addresses the ethics issues raised by the participation of executive branch employees in a golf tournament that was held simultaneously with an annual conference of Federal Government employees.


DO-96-036: Final Rule for "Widely Attended Gatherings"pdf
OGE published a final rule to revise the widely attended gatherings gift exception at 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204(g). One of the amendments provides that agencies can authorize their employees to accept gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings from persons other than the sponsors of the event.


96x17: Relationship among 5 U.S.C. § 3110, 18 U.S.C. § 208, and E.O. 12674pdf
Section 101 (h) and (n) of E.O. 12674 does not conflict with 5 U.S.C. § 3110 (the nepotism statute) or 18 U.S.C. § 208. Spouses could work in the same office, but one spouse could not hire the other spouse to work there, or even recommend the other spouse for promotion.


96x16: Amendments to 18 U.S.C. § 205 and 18 U.S.C. § 207pdf
The amendment to section 205 allows employees to represent certain nonprofit organizations before the Government, and the amendment to section 207 added an exception allowing former high-level officials to represent certain candidates.


DO-96-034: Amendments to 18 U.S.C. § 205 and 18 U.S.C. § 207pdf
The amendment to section 205 allows employees to represent certain nonprofit organizations before the Government, and the amendment to section 207 added an exception allowing former high-level officials to represent certain candidates.


96x15: Request for Waiver to 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) Restrictions for Reinstated Employeepdf
OGE's Director determined that although a full year had passed between the employee's improper retirement and reinstatement, the situation did not qualify the employee for a waiver from 18 USC 207 restrictions, and the OGE determined that a waiver should not be used to mitigate the consequences of the previous, improper action.


96x14: Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) to Detailee from State Universitypdf
OGE determined that agency supplemental pay combined with pay from the university triggered the threshold to make the employee a "senior employee" subject to 18 U.S.C. § 207(a). [See IPA at 5 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3376]. OGE also discussed whether certain activities were therefore restricted under 18 U.S.C. § 207 and 5 C.F.R. Part 2637.


96x13: Employee's Representation of Client Before Federal Agencypdf
OGE determined that the former employee was barred from representing an individual before a Federal agency because his involvement in the matter while a government employee, while not time consuming, could be interpreted as "substantial" for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 207.


96x11: 18 U.S.C. § 205 and Lawsuit by Employee Acting Pro Sepdf
By appealing a decision in favor of the agency, the employee took a position contrary to his agency, and the agency claimed this action violated 18 U.S.C. § 205 and the agency's own ethics regulations. OGE determined the individual was not necessarily representing an intervening plaintiff in the suit, nor did the employee violate the current standards of conduct.


96x12: Request for Waiver of 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) and (c) Restrictionspdf
Under 5 CFR 2637, an agency may only submit such a waiver if the former employee's involvement in the matter for the private employer is needed on a continuous and comprehensive basis. The OGE determined, based on the employee's experience and expertise and anticipated work, that such a waiver could be granted.


DO-96-031: Preparing to Use OGE Form 450pdf
OGE provides guidance on when to disclose underlying holdings on the OGE Form 450 for mutual funds, pensions, and similar investments.


DO-96-030: Extension of Temporary Waiver from Restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) and (f)pdf
OGE extends the temporary waiver of the restrictions in 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) and (f) so that it will remain effective through October 31, 1996, or until the effective date of any remedial legislation, whichever occurs earlier. 


DO-96-029: Standardizing Alternative to Annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Reportspdf
OGE asks agencies to respond to survey about the usefulness of a standardized "certificate of no new interests" as an alternative to an annual OGE Form 450.


96x10: Divestiture of Prohibited Holdings by Spousepdf
OGE determined that assets controlled solely by a spouse could be considered financial interests for a government employee that would trigger the appearance of or actual conflicts of interest, and could require divestiture.


96x9: Effect of 5 C.F.R. Part 2635 on All Prior Agency Standards of Conduct Regulations and Policiespdf
The specific policy in dispute was dress code policy, which the OGE said was not abolished when the Standards of Ethical Conduct were passed in February, 1993.


96x8: Applicability of One-Year Ban of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c)pdf
The OGE determined based on information provided, that the former employee could represent private clients before the agency. The OGE found that rules requiring a cooling off period did not apply to the employee.


96x7: Post-Government Employment Bar under 18 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1)pdf
The OGE determined that for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 207, an organization's study and agency A and B's rule making were part of the same mandate, and thus were part of the same particular matter. The OGE also concluded the employee's participation was personal and substantial.


96x6: Position with Private Partisan Organizationpdf
The ethics laws and regulations do not preclude an employee from serving in a leadership position with a private partisan organization provided the employee does not take actions while serving that violate an ethics provision, such as 18 U.S.C. § 205.


96x4: Qualified Diversified Trust (Blind Trust)pdf
An executive branch employee who has a qualified diversified trust (a blind trust) under the Ethics in Government Act may not instruct the independent trustee of the trust to sell all equity positions and invest in bonds.


96x5: Honoraria Ban Declared Unenforceablepdf
The Office of Legal Counsel of DOJ issued an opinion stating that the recent Supreme Court decision in NTEU v. U.S. made the statutory prohibition on honoraria unenforceable.  Other restrictions remain in effect.


DO-96-012: Honoraria Ban Declared Unenforceablepdf
The Office of Legal Counsel of DOJ issued an opinion stating that the recent Supreme Court decision in NTEU v. U.S. made the statutory prohibition on honoraria unenforceable. Other restrictions remain in effect.


DO-96-011: New OGE Form 450 (1996 Edition)pdf
OGE issues the new OGE Form 450, Confidential Financial Disclosure Report.  This form replaces the SF 450.


96x3: Confidential Financial Disclosure Reportingpdf
OGE responds to an executive branch employee's complaints that the confidential financial disclosure system is arbitrary, dangerous, and intrusive.


DO-96-007: 1994 Conflict of Interest Prosecution Surveypdf
1994 Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey


DO-96-006: New Reporting Categories for SF 278pdf
Section 20 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-65) amended the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require new categories of amount or value on public financial disclosure reports for assets, income and liabilities exceeding $l million (except for interests of a spouse or dependent child, unless jointly held with the filer). This applies to all SF 278 reports filed on or after January 1, 1996.


96x2: Fundraising in Official Capacitypdf
Absent express authority, a member of an executive branch commission may not engage in official fundraising for a private nonprofit organization.


96x1: Agency Authority Regarding Investigations and Corrective Action for Ethics Violationspdf
An agency has authority under 5 C.F.R. § 2635.106(b) to take corrective action for ethics violations by its employees. An agency must look to its own regulations for authority to conduct investigations into ethics violations.


DO-96-002: Post-Employment Pledge Required by E.O. 12834 (Clinton Administration)pdf
The Counsel to President Clinton confirmed that Executive Order 12834 did not apply to employees paid at level 4 of the Senior Executive Service (SES). [Note: Executive Order 12834 has been revoked.]


DO-96-001: Short-Term Waiver under 18 U.S.C. § 207(c)(2)(C)pdf
Temporary waiver extends to employees whose basic rate of pay on December 28, 1995 was less than that of the rate of basic pay payable for level V of the Executive Schedule and as a direct result of EO 12984 but who would have their basic rate of pay increased to an amount equal to or greater than the rate of basic pay for level V of the ES.