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

All Advisories for 1985

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(Legal) 85x19: Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 209 to Donors and Recipients of Money for a Private Defense Fundpdf
For 18 U.S.C. § 209, it is important to determine if the defense fund was meant to be "compensation for services as an employee of the United States." Determination must be based on totality of the circumstances. Persons involved in setting up fund must be mindful of 5 U.S.C. Part 7351 and the standards of conduct. [Note: In light of Crandon v. United States, 494 U.S. 152 (1990), the analysis regarding the application of 18 U.S.C. § 209 to legal defense funds was revised in OGE Informal Advisory Letter 93 x 21].


(Legal) 85x18: Participation for Compensation by Executive Branch Employees in Privately-Sponsored Seminars or Conferencespdf
The memo covers applicable criminal statutes and other related statutes and the standards of conduct and the public disclosure requirements of the Ethics in Government Act. [cites former 5 C.F.R. Part 735]


(Legal) 85x17: Spouse's Financial Interestspdf
OGE also pointed out that the husband's interests were voided by the Department on the basis of a specific statutory prohibition against employees holding such interests. There was also no unfair treatment, because others with prohibited interests were not required to divest if they had the interest prior to employment.


(Legal) 85x16: Sponsorship of a Government Awards Program by Private Organizationpdf
The organization could host a separate banquet honoring the recipients of the awards because as 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) organization, it could under 5 U.S.C. § 4111, offer such an honor to each employee.  Each employee's agency wound need to determine under 5 C.F.R. Part 410.705 if its employees could attend.


(Legal) 85x15: Application of 18 U.S.C. § 207(a)pdf
18 U.S.C. § 207(a) prohibited former employee from representing foundation to the government on matters involving the establishment of the foundation or its working relationship with the museum.  The OGE determined that the concept of a departmental museum was a particular matter involving a specific party. [Cites former 5 C.F.R. Part 738]


(Legal) 85x14: Appearance Issues Arising from Financial Interest of Government Employee’s Siblingpdf
Although the recusal requirement of 18 U.S.C. § 208 would not be triggered because it doesn't cover financial interests of a sibling, the standards of conduct would apply.  [References 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) and (b), OGE Advisory 83x18 and former 5 C.F.R. Part 735]


(Legal) 85x13: Discussion of Ethics Issues Related to Commercial Discountspdf
Memo covers applicable criminal statutes and other related statutes, the standards of conduct, and the public disclosure requirements of the Ethics in Government Act. [cites former 5 C.F.R. part 735]


(Legal) 85x12: Limitations on Employee’s Operation of Outside Business Activitypdf
Several statutes and regulations impose restrictions on the business activities and compensation of employee who owns a business and is interested in bidding on Government contracts.  [Note: The 18 U.S.C. § 203 analysis in this opinion was modified by OGE Informal Advisory Memorandum 99 x 25.] [Cites former 5 C.F.R. Part 735.]


(Legal) 85x11: Paid Leave of Absence Prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 209pdf
OGE determined given Nominee's continuing ties to the corp., package resembled a leave of absence rather than a normal severance agreement, and the pay seemed to be supplementing his government salary during the leave, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 209.


(Legal) 85x10: Conflict of Interest Issues Raised by Spouse’s Employment with Government Contractorpdf
Given the nature of the duties the spouse performed, OGE determined she had a financial interest in the contract and thus the employee was prohibited from acting on the contract unless issued a waiver.


(Legal) 85x9: Misuse of Government-Owned Vehiclepdf
OGE advised the head of an agency of the considerations this Office felt were involved in determining whether the use of a government-owned vehicle for transportation to social or quasi-social events was a misuse of government property. [cites former 5 C.F.R. part 735]


(Legal) 85x8: Access to Public Financial Disclosure Reports by Investigatorspdf
OGE would not amend the exemption in 5 C.F.R. § 734.603(c) which allows Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who are conducting criminal conflict of interest investigations access to public financial disclosure reports without filing a public request, to include agents of the inspectors general. [cites former 5 C.F.R. part 734]


(Legal) 85x7: Public Financial Disclosure Positions and Equal Classification Processpdf
OGE addresses issue of whether certain positions in an agency are of equal classification to those held by Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and should be required to public financial disclosure forms.


(Legal) 85x6: Application of 18 U.S.C. § 207(b) to Former Employee’s Representation of Government Contractorpdf
Since no ultimate resolution of the original filing had been reached and the matter was still capable of being pursued, it was, for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 207(b)(i) "actually pending" in the department.  Further, the employee's official job description encompassed supervision of all such claims including this matter. [cites former 5 C.F.R. 737]


(Legal) 85x5: Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) to Former Senior Employees of the Civil Aeronautics Boardpdf
Even though certain functions of CAB were integrated into the existing structure of the DOT, 18 U.S.C. § 207(c)'s restrictive language refers explicitly to representations to the agency where the former employer served, and there was no portion of the DOT that could be considered the CAB for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c).


(Legal) 85x4: Agency Standards of Conduct Relating to Gift Exceptionspdf
Agency wished to allow employees giving speeches to receive gifts from host private entities. OGE said no exception could be applied that would allow receipt of those gifts, under 18 U.S.C. § 209 or under 5 C.F.R. §§ 735.202 and 735.203.


(Legal) 85x3: Government Employee’s Preparation of Tax Returns for Taxpayerspdf
Employee could prepare and sign tax returns, but could not represent the taxpayers to the IRS in any subsequent audit.  If the tax preparation was done through a business, the employee would be prohibited from sharing any fees generated by his associates in representing clients before the government. The agency could restrict activities.


(Legal) 85x2: Agency Standards of Conduct Addressing Outside Employment and Misuse of Informationpdf
OGE advised that agency versions of 5 C.F.R. §§ 735.203 and 735.206 applied to two agents contracting with a magazine, giving the magazine exclusive production rights to the story of their investigation into racketeering. OGE stated that the agency could consider adverse action if the agents violated the standards of conduct.


(Legal) 85x1: Government Employee’s Representation of Veteran before Board of Veterans Appealspdf
The 4th paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 205 provides an exception allowing employees to represent other employees in certain internal proceedings. However, this would not reach the entitlement portion of a proceeding that is often part of a veteran's appeal.