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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 On occasion, OGE will add notes to past guidance documents when that guidance is updated or superseded by law, regulation, or subsequent OGE guidance.

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83x20: Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 208pdf
OGE advised an agency that an employee of the agency would be prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 208 from taking action on a contract when his wife was employed by the contractor as a consultant on the contract. A waiver would not overcome the appearance of impropriety in this situation.


83x19: Applicability of Conflict of Interest Statutes to Employee on Sick Leavepdf
Employee is subject to 18 U.S.C. §§ 203 and 205 while on sick leave pending retirement.  He cannot make representations on behalf of a corporation, nor can he receive compensation based on anyone’s representation to the Government.  [Note: The 18 U.S.C. § 203 analysis in this opinion was modified by OGE Informal Advisory Memorandum 99 x 25.]


83x18: Recusal of a Commissioner when Son's Law Firm Represents a Partypdf
OGE advises on whether a Commissioner is prohibited from participating in adjudicatory proceedings in which one of the parties is represented by a law firm with which the Commissioner's adult son is engaged as an associate. [cites former 5 C.F.R. Part 735]


83x17: Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) and (b) to a Former Non-Senior Employeepdf
OGE advised a former non-senior employee who had, while an employee, been substantially involved in developing proposed legislation. OGE stated that he was not prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) or (b)(i) from assisting a private organization in trying to achieve passage of the bill, as it was not a particular matter involving specific parties.


83x16: President and Vice President not Subject to 18 U.S.C. §§ 202-209pdf
OGE advised that the President and Vice President are not legally subject to (1) the restrictions of the criminal conflict of interest laws in 18 U.S.C. §§ 202-209 and (2) the standards of conduct set forth in Executive Order 11222 and the regulations thereunder. [cites former 5 C.F.R. Part 735]


83x15: Establishing a Trust for Government Employeespdf
OGE provides guidance on whether payments to government employees from a private trust would violate 18 U.S.C. § 209(a). In this case, the only eligible recipients for grants from the trust would be defined by their federal employment. This would give rise to an inference that such payments were made as outside compensation for Government services.


83x14: Post-Government Employment Restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c)pdf
OGE advised a department that a former senior employee subject to 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) could not, for a period of one year after leaving Government Service, represent a corporation to the department on any matter which was pending before the department or in which it had an interest.


83x13: Post-Government Employment Restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207(b)pdf
OGE provides guidance on 18 U.S.C. § 207(b)(i) to a former Government attorney who may have violated the statute by representing an individual in negotiations with a U.S. Attorney's office during a grand jury investigation when that investigation had been pending in the former employee's office during his last year of Government service.


83x12: Post-Government Employment Restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) and (c)pdf
A former senior employee of the agency violated 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) by submitting an application to the agency on behalf of a corporation within on year from the time he left the agency. Additionally, he violated 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) because the matter was one which the employee had been personally and substantially involved as a Government employee.


83x11: Employee's Acceptance of Gifts from an Organization Directly Affected by his Agencypdf
An employee of an agency would be prohibited by the agency's standards of conduct relating to the acceptance of gifts from receiving a cash public service award from an organization which was directly affected by action taken by the agency. [cites former 5 C.F.R. § 735.202]


83x10: Application of 18 U.S.C. § 209 to Receipt of Awards by Government Officialspdf
There is no requisite intent to compensate an official for official duties and therefore no violation of 18 U.S.C. § 209 in the bestowal upon a Government official of a bona fide award for public service or other meritorious service.


83x9: Divestiture and Conflicts of Interestpdf
A statute creating a Government board required members of the board not to have any financial  interest in a certain company.  OGE concluded that an individual would still have a financial interest in a company within the meaning of the statute if that individual placed the company's stock in an irrevocable trust for the benefit of her children.


83x7: Former Employee Representing a Client to Congress on Legislation he Assisted in Draftingpdf
A former senior employee who had assisted his former agency in drafting proposed legislation would not be prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) from representing a private client to the legislative branch on that legislation. He would be prohibited from representing a client on that legislation to his agency or their employees for 1 year after his departure.


83x8: Discussion of 18 U.S.C. § 207pdf
OGE advised a Government attorney on the general restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207 should he decide to join a private law firm as an associate.


83x6: Payments to a Government Employee as a Result of a Covenant Not to Competepdf
Payments made under a Covenant Not to Compete entered into by a recent appointee may not raise a question under 18 U.S.C. § 209 if they were made pursuant to an agreement entered into before contemplation of Government Service and for a normal business purpose. However, 18 U.S.C. § 208 applies for any action affecting that corporation.


83x5: Former Government Employee Testifying when Government is a Partypdf
A former Government employee would not be barred by 18 U.S.C. § 207(a) or (b) from being an expert witness in litigation where the United States was a defendant and another defendant wished to use the employee as an expert when the employee's work for the government was not a particular matter involving a specific party or parties.


83x4: Restrictions on Payment from a Publisher to a Senior White House Officialpdf
A senior White House official receiving payments from a publisher for a proposed diet book does not violate 18 U.S.C. § 209, the 15% outside earned income limitation imposed by the White House on its senior staff, or the prohibition on presidential appointees receiving compensation for writings.


83x3: Private Source Reimbursing Spouse's Travel Expensespdf
OGE advises that the acceptance by an employee for the reimbursement from a private source for travel expenses of a spouse accompanying the employee on official travel would probably, except under very limited circumstances, violate 18 U.S.C. § 209 and standards of conduct governing gifts.


83x2: Accepting Payment for Personal Legal Counsel from a Former Employerpdf
OGE discusses whether it would be permissible, under 18 U.S.C. §§ 203, 205, or 209, for an attorney's former law firm to pay the fees and expenses of his counsel and personal expenses when incurred by him in a matter arising out his prior private service as counsel to a corporation now the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.


83x1: 18 U.S.C. § 205's Exception for Testimony Under Oathpdf
The exception in 18 U.S.C. § 205 for "testimony under oath" would permit a present employee of the U.S. Government to serve as an expert witness for the plaintiff even though the United States was a defendant-in-chief. However, it is OGE's position that the standards of conduct, would prohibit such testimony. [cites former 5 C.F.R. § 735.201]


83 OGE 1: Vested Rights in a Pension Plan as a "Financial Interest"pdf
OGE addresses the question "whether, or under what circumstances, a federal employee's vested rights in a private corporation's pension plan constitute a 'financial interest' under 18 U.S.C. § 208, so as to bar the employee's participating in a contract or other particular matter involving that corporation." [The guidance in this opinion was modified in 1999 by DAEOgram DO-99-015.]