Leadership Notes


Transparency plays an essential role in strengthening trust in government
During Sunshine Week (March 10 – 16) and beyond OGE works hard to facilitate transparency by making ethics documents publicly available and raising the American public’s awareness about the systems in place to prevent conflicts of interest and mechanisms available to hold their government accountable.


February 15 Is an Important Day on the Government Ethics Calendar
By the end of today, the nearly one-in-five civilian executive branch employees required to complete a confidential financial disclosure will have filed their reports, which are vital to the integrity of government.


Federal employees must engage with the ethics program at all stages of federal service, and after federal service, to protect themselves and the government from ethical lapses.


Grateful for Those Who Protect the Public Trust
I am grateful to the millions of federal employees, thousands of ethics officials, and entire OGE staff for their collective work to protect the public trust.


Gifts and gratitude: 'Tis the season
Although the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, the time for giving and gratitude continues. With the joys of the season, so too come the gift-related challenges.


Public Financial Disclosures: Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States
While you might associate OGE with the review and certification of public financial disclosures of senior executive branch officials, we are also responsible for another important group of filers: candidates for President and Vice President of the United States (candidates).


Preparing the Executive Branch Ethics Program for the 2024 Presidential Election
Being ready to assist new leaders to take on their responsibilities free from ethics concerns requires OGE and every executive branch agency to plan and prepare.


The Ethics in Government Act Turns 45
Thursday, October 26th will mark the 45th anniversary the Ethics in Government Act being signed into law, creating the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the ethics program it oversees designed to prevent conflicts of interest.


More than Compliance: The Value of the Annual Agency Ethics Program Questionnaire
Maintaining the public’s trust is a shared responsibility between OGE and executive branch agencies.


Don’t Overlook Oversight
OGE keeps an eye on the health of the executive branch ethics program in a number of ways.


A Farewell Call to Public Service
In July, when we celebrate our nation’s beginnings, and the public service that independence needs to prosper, I will conclude my term as OGE’s Director.


Public Financial Disclosure Report Review: A Collective Effort
Today marks 30 days since the majority of the 2023 annual public financial disclosure reports were due to ethics offices across the executive branch.


OGE Issues a New Regulation Related to Legal Expense Funds and Pro Bono Legal Services
When I was confirmed nearly five years ago, I committed to issuing a regulation governing legal expense funds (LEF) for executive branch employees. Today, OGE published that rule.


Keeping Public Financial Disclosure Serving its Purpose: Identifying and Preventing Conflicts of Interest
Across 130+ executive branch agencies, more than 25,000 public financial disclosure reports are due to be filed today by senior government leaders.


Public Servants Can Help Rebuild Trust in Government
Recent surveys show that the public’s trust in its government is lower now than it has been at nearly any point in our nation’s recent history.


OGE Celebrates Transparency During Sunshine Week and Beyond
Transparency plays an essential role in strengthening trust in government.


Thank You to the Hundreds of Thousands of Federal Employees Who Timely and Accurately File Their Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports
On and around February 15th, hundreds of thousands executive branch employees will file confidential financial disclosure reports.


A Message from OGE’s Director to Ethics Officials about Their Important Role and What’s to Come in 2023
This month, I sent a video message to the thousands of officials who carry out the ethics program across the executive branch.


How to Navigate the Holiday Season and Continue to Uphold the Public’s Trust
As the holiday season arrives, OGE recognizes that gifts are an important part of many cultures and traditions. So, why then do the executive branch ethics rules prohibit accepting some gifts and what should you do if you are an employee who is offered one?


OGE’s New Strategic Objective: Lead the Financial Disclosure Program and Provide the Executive Branch E-Filing System, Integrity


OGE’s New Strategic Objective: Using OGE Authorities to Address Known Ethics Risks
OGE’s mission is one of prevention. That doesn’t mean that OGE does not act when it becomes aware of potential ethics risks in executive branch agencies.


OGE’s New Strategic Objective: Reaching a Broader Array of Stakeholders
Ethics is a mission that is important to everyone in our country. Whether you are a taxpayer, a Social Security recipient, a grantee, or a policy advocate, good and ethical government is important to you.


OGE’s New Strategic Objective: Fostering an Ethical Culture in the Executive Branch
Ethical culture can seem like a vague concept and fostering an ethical culture may seem to make as much sense as trying to bottle sunshine.


Welcome to a New Series of Leadership Notes: OGE’s Plans for the Years Ahead
Over the coming months, OGE leaders will publish Leadership Notes expanding upon the four new strategic objectives in the Plan.


Why Doesn’t OGE Do More Ethics Investigations?
“Why doesn’t OGE do more ethics investigations?” It is a fair question, with a good answer.


Equity is Part of Ethics
One of our fundamental principles of ethical conduct in the executive branch requires the more than two million federal employees to provide equal opportunities to all Americans when carrying out their work.


The Annual Public Financial Disclosure System: The Ongoing Work of Preventing Conflicts of Interest
This is an important time of year for government ethics. Every May, approximately 26,000 senior government employees are required to file public financial disclosure reports.


With Gratitude to All of the Public Servants Who Work to Protect the Public Trust
There is a very special subset of public servants who work tirelessly to protect the trust between the American people and their government: ethics officials.


Read OGE’s Strategic Plan which charts our course through 2026
I am honored to present the Strategic Plan for the United States Office of Government Ethics for 2022-2026.


Letting the Sunshine in: OGE Increases Transparency so You Can Oversee the Integrity of the Executive Branch
Transparency plays an essential role in strengthening trust in government. Without this transparency, you could not meaningfully oversee the integrity of its government. This is why OGE works every day to make sure that you have access to information about the executive branch and its leaders.


Confidential Financial Disclosure: Ethics Programs at Work behind the Scenes to Protect Government Integrity
Today, a very important aspect of reducing risk and mitigating conflicts of interest in the executive branch happens across the executive branch as nearly 400,000 employees begin to file confidential financial disclosures with their agency ethics officials for review.


The Change of the Calendar is a Time of Change for the Executive Branch Ethics Program
As we welcome the New Year, this is a time of significant endings and important beginnings within the executive branch ethics program that keep it strong and working to prevent conflicts of interest.


Tis the Season: A Reflection on the Gift Rules
Giving and receiving gifts is common to many cultures around the world for marking joyous occasions, holidays, or even mourning. So why, if gift exchanges are so common, do the executive branch ethics rules prohibit accepting some gifts?


OGE Oversees the Executive Branch Ethics Program in a Variety of Ways
OGE’s review teams regularly evaluate each executive branch agency’s ethics program.


OGE Uses Data to Help Protect the Public Trust
By leveraging data, OGE hopes to reduce risk, increase our impact, and reach our important goal of preventing conflicts of interest in the executive branch — all while enabling you to see for yourself how the ethics program is doing.


The Role of Ethics Officials in Supporting Federal Employees to Carry Out Their Jobs with Integrity
Sometimes employees need help understanding ethics rules. When they do have questions, they have someone to call for help: an agency ethics official.


Help OGE Chart a Course for the Next Five Years
OGE Seeks Your Feedback on its Draft Strategic Plan


Public Financial Disclosure: A Cornerstone of the Public Trust
Every day, government leaders make decisions that will have profound effects on the lives of their fellow citizens.


Reflecting on the Vital Contributions of Public Servants
During this Public Service Recognition Week, I am grateful for each and all of the contributions, big and small, made by public servants to help our nation weather the Covid-19 pandemic.


OGE is a Key Link between the Executive Branch Ethics Program and the Congress
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has a unique and important relationship with Congress.


Ethics Agreements: Road Maps for Good Governance
How can citizens know that their government leaders are following through on their ethics commitments? The answer: ethics agreements and ethics agreement compliance certifications.


Confidential Financial Disclosure: A Powerful Tool to Prevent Conflicts of Interest
There are hundreds of thousands of federal employees who award contracts, conduct investigations, administer grants, and review licensing applications. How can we know that they are acting in the public’s interest and not being influenced by their private financial holdings? The answer is the confidential financial disclosure system.


A Message from Director Rounds: Ethical Leadership in Public Service
I am continuing OGE’s practice and my commitment to advancing ethical leadership by sending a letter discussing these important responsibilities to each incoming Presidential appointee as they are confirmed by the Senate.


The Ethics Community Will Not Be Deterred from Carrying Out Its Important Role in the Transfer of Power
The dedicated career professionals in the ethics community provide a thread of experience and certainty between administrations, and they will not be deterred from their important work.


The Presidential Election: The Ethics Community is Prepared and Ready
On this day in 1978, President Carter signed the Ethics in Government Act, which created the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and the public financial disclosure system for the United States Government.


Welcome to OGE’s Wholly New Website
Welcome to OGE’s wholly new website. OGE hopes the new navigation, search collections, and content strengthen the executive branch ethics program, increase transparency, and improve accountability.


Ethics Agreements: A Roadmap to Steer Well Clear of Ethics Violations
Ethics agreements are designed to ensure that incoming officials are free from the kinds of financial entanglements that could compromise their objectivity or prevent them from performing their duties.


Government Ethics and Accountability
When government officials abuse public office for their own enrichment, they may face a variety of consequences, from administrative sanctions to prison time.


OGE and IGs: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Congress established the Office of Government Ethics in 1978 to be the policy and prevention body for ethics in the executive branch. At the same time, Congress saw a need for specialized investigators to help detect and combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the executive branch.


5 Years of Integrity: The Executive Branch Electronic Financial Disclosure Engine
May 15 is the deadline for filing public financial disclosure reports. This year, nearly all of those reports will be filed using Integrity, OGE’s public financial disclosure filing system – a fully virtual system that enables continuity during this time of disruption.


Public Service Recognition Week (2020)
This Public Service Recognition Week, I hope that you will take some time to thank the public servants in your life.


A Memo to Heads of All Executive Branch Agencies (COVID-19)
Yesterday, I sent a memo to the heads of all executive branch agencies asking them to take affirmative steps to remind their agency officials and employees of the importance of ethics in government.


OGE Presents the 2020 Virtual National Government Ethics Summit
Today, Director Rounds kicked off the 2020 National Government Ethics Summit, which will provide attendees with opportunities to deepen their knowledge of ethics laws and learn about the latest in ethics program practices.


Look Ahead to 2020
As we say “goodbye” to 2019, OGE looks forward to some exciting challenges in 2020.


Transparency and Ethics Across Four Decades
Today marks 41 years since the passage of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which created the Office of Government Ethics and its public financial disclosure system. 


One Year at OGE: Much has been accomplished, there is still much to do
Without the trust of its people this nation cannot succeed. When I was sworn in as Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics one year ago, I remarked upon the enormity of this Office’s mission.


Ethics Agreements: Where Ethics Obligations Become Action
Making and following through on ethics agreements is an important step in preventing conflicts of interest; this is where ethical obligations become action.


A Memo to Heads of All Executive Branch Agencies (DAEO/ADAEO Designations)
I recently sent a memo to the heads of all executive branch agencies reminding them of their responsibility to foster an ethical culture and to ensure the success of their agency’s ethics program.


OGE’s Unique Role Supporting Congress
OGE’s supporting role was particularly vital during the 115th Congress, which considered a large number of presidential nominations and introduced a record amount of legislation related to ethics, trends which continue into the current Congress.


This Week OGE Celebrates Sunshine Week
For our democracy to function, citizens must be able to learn what and how their government is doing.


Conveying the importance of ethical leadership
OGE Director begins meeting with the heads of executive branch agencies


Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the Ethics in Government Act and OGE
This week, OGE gathered with a group of senior ethics officials from throughout the executive branch to mark this anniversary and the beginning of the modern government ethics program.  


A Memo to Heads of all Executive Branch Agencies
Today I sent a memo to the heads of all executive branch agencies asking them to support ethics in government. 


A message from Emory A. Rounds, III, Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics
I am honored to lead the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. There are few more important duties in government than protecting the public’s trust.


OGE and the Inspectors General: Helping to protect the public trust for 40 years
For the last forty years, OGE and agency Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs) have worked together to ensure that the American public can have confidence in the integrity of its government.


Holding Government Leaders Accountable
In the wake of the Watergate scandal Congress sought to rebuild the public’s trust, in part, by giving citizens access to financial disclosure reports filed by senior government officials. OGE’s Deputy Director for Compliance discusses how this system works.


The Ethics Program, Transparency, and You
At the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) we oversee the executive branch ethics program designed to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure that the public’s business is conducted impartially. To succeed, we need your help. 


Public Service Recognition Week
This Public Service Recognition Week we honor our friends, neighbors, and family members in the public service who serve our nation with honor and integrity. Their work keeps us safe, healthy, and secure.


OGE Launches Institute for Ethics in Government Learning Portal
OGE is pleased to announce the launch of the Institute for Ethics in Government learning portal.


OGE’s Strategic Plan Charts our Course through 2022.
OGE’s newly released five-year Strategic Plan reflects commitment to our important mission of preventing conflicts of interest in the executive branch.


Keeping Our Oath
When we become public servants-- custodians of the people's government--we take an oath.


OGE’s Acting Director Briefs Incoming Senior Executives
OGE’s Acting Director reminds new senior executives of the critical importance of maintaining the public’s trust.


A note from OGE’s Leadership team
OGE’s Leadership Team will continue to use this space to talk directly to you about the Federal executive branch ethics program. Read past Director's Notes below.


OGE Released the Waivers and Authorizations Collected Pursuant to its April 28, 2017, Data Call
Today, OGE released the waivers and authorizations collected from executive branch agencies pursuant to its April 28, 2017, data call. This Director's Note explains how to access the documents.


How to Get Copies of Responses to OGE’s Data Call for Waivers and Authorizations
The Ethics in Government Act gives OGE the authority to collect executive branch records and information related to the ethics program. At the end of April, OGE announced that it was collecting copies of waivers and authorizations issued in the past 12 months to certain high-level executive branch officials. This Director's Note explains how OGE will release the documents it has collected.


Welcome to the Director’s Notes
This feature allows OGE’s Director to talk to you directly about the Federal executive branch ethics program. Read past Director’s Notes below.


Confidential Financial Disclosure: An Important Tool to Prevent Conflicts of Interest
While the rest of the world is focused on Valentine’s Day in mid-February, the executive branch ethics program is focused on financial disclosure. Yesterday was the deadline for approximately 370,000 mid-level federal officials to file their annual confidential financial disclosure reports. Government ethics officials review every one of these reports, scouring them for potential financial conflicts of interest . This massive undertaking is an important part of the mechanisms in place to guard the integrity of the government’s operations.


A Refresher on the Impartiality Rule
On January 1, 2017, new government ethics training regulations went into effect. These regulations now require agencies to train more employees than in the past. They also place a new emphasis on four core topics: conflicts of interest, impartiality, misuse of position, and gifts. Earlier “Director’s Notes” have discussed conflicts of interest , misuse of position , and gifts. To round out the set, this Director’s note focuses on the impartiality rule.


A Refresher on Misuse of Position
Executive branch employees are subject to an important set of ethics rules contained in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch . These rules serve to guard the federal service against ethical problems that could undermine public confidence in the integrity of the government’s operations. They regulate such things as conflicts of interest, misuse of position, impartiality, and gifts.


OGE Amends the Executive Branch Gift Rules
Today, OGE has published amended rules on gifts from outside sources. The amended rules make several important changes to strengthen the executive branch ethics program.


OGE Overhauls Requirements for the Executive Branch Ethics Program
For the first time since 1981, OGE has issued a regulation overhauling the requirements for the executive branch ethics program. The new requirements include increased ethics training requirements for executive branch employees, and significant new responsibilities for executive branch officials with ethics-related responsibilities.


OGE Modernizes Executive Branch Ethics Training
OGE is pleased to announce the release of a portfolio of education products that agency ethics officials can use for initial ethics orientations and annual ethics training


2015 Annual Agency Ethics Program Questionnaire Results Provide Valuable Insights
The results of OGE’s executive branchwide survey of agency ethics programs and a summary of key statistics are now available on OGE’s website. The data provides valuable insights into individual agencies and the executive branch ethics program as a whole.


OGE’s New Presidential Transition Page
OGE’s website now features a Presidential Transition page targeting the Presidential campaigns, the future Presidential Transition Team, incoming Presidential nominees, the media, and the public. Based on OGE’s extensive experience with the nominee process, OGE has developed critical resources that will help to ensure that the transition is as smooth and effective as possible.


OGE to Play a Critical Role in the Presidential Transition
One of OGE’s key responsibilities is to help the President-elect fill top leadership positions by moving prospective nominees through the nomination process quickly and free from conflicts of interest.


OGE and Agency Ethics Officials Train for Post-Election Readiness
OGE supports ethics officials in their preparation for the presidential transition through our Transition Readiness Series.


OGE Presents the 2016 National Government Ethics Summit and a Symposium on Financial Disclosure


OGE’s Electronic Financial Disclosure System, Integrity: Off to a Strong Start
A year after its launch, Integrity is off to a strong start. The system has been widely adopted throughout the executive branch, with over 100 agencies and more than 10,000 filers registered. Integrity’s user population continues to expand, and in 2016 every executive branch agency is expected to have registered filers in the system.


Remember the Gift Rules During the Holidays
It's that time of year again: The season for reminding federal employees about the government’s rules against accepting certain types of gifts.


OGE’s New Approach to Ethics Education is a Success
Shortly after my appointment as Director in January 2013, I challenged OGE’s training staff to modernize and expand our efforts to educate ethics officials throughout the executive branch. On May 9, 2013, we announced our strategy in a program advisory and launched the Institute for Ethics in Government.


Surveying the Government Ethics Operations of Executive Branch Agencies
The Ethics in Government Act requires each agency to submit an annual report regarding its government ethics operations. We have posted these reports, along with a summary of key statistics about the executive branch ethics program, on OGE’s website.


OGE and the Inspector General Community
OGE and agency Inspectors General work together to ensure that the American public can have confidence in the integrity of its government.


Enhancing the International Dialogue on Good Governance
OGE works with the State Department to support efforts to fight corruption across the globe. As part of this effort, OGE recently participated in a review of the United States’ implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.


Meet OGE's New Deputy Director for Compliance, Dale Christopher
I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has selected Dale “Chip” Christopher for the position of Deputy Director for Compliance.


2014 Year in Review and What’s Next for OGE
January is a time for reflection as well as a time to set priorities for the New Year. I want to share just a few highlights from 2014 and provide a preview of what to expect from OGE in 2015.


A Holiday Reminder about the Gift Rules
The holiday season is upon us again, with homemade treats, gift baskets, assorted other goodies, and invitations abundant in workplaces across the country. For federal employees, now is a good time to review the government’s ethics rules on gifts.


By the Numbers: The National Government Ethics Summit was a Success
OGE's first National Government Ethics Summit was a success.  We brought together ethics officials and other stakeholders to strengthen the executive branch ethics program and, with our partners, presented an extraordinary quantity of high-quality training at a low cost.


The National Government Ethics Summit Begins
OGE kicked off the National Government Ethics Summit this week.


Excitement Builds for the First National Government Ethics Summit
Excitement is building for the first National Government Ethics Summit, which OGE is hosting throughout the month of September. Participate in the Summit virtually.


The Three Branches of Government Team Up to Support Ethics
Ethics practitioners from the three branches of the federal government meet regularly to discuss common ethics issues and areas of interest. These meetings provide an invaluable Government-wide perspective on ethics.


Expansion of OGE’s Oversight of Agency Ethics Programs Through a New Inspections Process
OGE is responsible for evaluating the ethics programs of federal agencies. OGE has expanded the reach of its oversight function by supplementing program reviews with a new inspections process.


OGE delivers its first Massive Open Online Course
OGE delivers its first Massive Open Online Course


Meet OGE’s Chief of Staff & Program Counsel, Shelley K. Finlayson
Meet OGE's Chief of Staff & Program Counsel, Shelley K. Finlayson


Public Financial Disclosure: Ensuring Integrity and Transparency in Government
Every year, the government's top leaders disclose their financial interests in reports that are available to the public. This annual exercise in transparency is a cornerstone of the ethics program because the executive branch uses these reports to identify and resolve potential conflicts of interests.


Honoring Our Public Servants. Connecting Citizens with Their Government
It’s Public Service Recognition Week! OGE thanks the dedicated public servants in our nation’s workforce of more than 2 million executive branch employees, especially the 5,000 executive branch ethics officials who protect the integrity of the government’s operations.


Two Years since the Passage of the STOCK Act
Two years ago, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) imposed the most sweeping changes to executive branch ethics laws in over 20 years.


OGE Hosts Virtual Ethics Training Symposium
This week, OGE hosted a virtual training symposium for approximately 150 executive branch agency ethics officials.


Sunshine Week 2014
OGE commemorates Sunshine Week by taking stock of how far OGE has come in promoting transparency.


Release of OGE’s Strategic Plan
OGE has released its 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, which lays out OGE’s strategy for accomplishing the important mission of the executive branch ethics program.


Government Ethics Education Year in Review
Ethics training is essential to ensuring uniformity in the application of ethics laws and policy. 2013 saw a significant expansion of OGE’s ethics education offerings.


OGE’s Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey
OGE’s Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey illustrates the high standard to which federal employees are held and the potential consequences for the few who violate the public’s trust.


Meeting with Senior White House Officials and Agency Ethics Leaders
This week I met with senior White House officials and agency ethics leaders to discuss recent developments in the executive branch ethics community. 


Announcing OGE’s New General Counsel
I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has a new General Counsel. This morning, I administered the oath of office to David J. Apol.


2013 Year in Review
One year ago, I was sworn in as Director of OGE, a “small agency with the big mission of making sure the public can have confidence in the government’s impartiality.” Looking back a year later, I am proud of the work that OGE accomplished in 2013.


The Gift Rules Do Not Take a Holiday
This time of year has become a season for gift-giving and gift-getting. In the federal workplace, the ethics rules prohibiting certain gifts do not take a holiday.


Responding to Emerging Issues: The Windsor Decision
In the context of the Windsor decision, OGE’s Director discusses one of the most important ways OGE serves the executive branch ethics community – providing timely and accurate advice on emerging issues affecting the ethics program.


35th Anniversary of the Ethics in Government Act
The Office of Government Ethics celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, the law most directly responsible for the executive branch ethics program as we know it.


Welcome to the Director's Notes
We have created this new feature so I can talk to you directly about the ethics program in the executive branch of the Federal government.