Ethics Law and Programs Division (ELPD)

Leadership

Deputy Chief
Attorney-Advisor
Ethics Program Specialist
Ethics Program Specialist
Attorney-Advisor
Senior Attorney

About Ethics Law and Programs Division

The Ethics Law and Programs Division staff provides guidance on issues including financial and non-financial conflicts of interest, outside activities including political activities, gifts, and post-employment restrictions.  To ensure that advisory services are readily available, an attorney is assigned each day to answer telephone questions and e-mail inquiries.


Gifts

The Ethics Law and Programs Division advises on both personal gifts, such as invitations to events, and gifts to the agency, such as travel gifts.

Key Forms:  • Invitation Questionnaire • Travel Gift Questionnaire • NOAA Travel Gift Questionnaire • Supervisory Approval Form • CD-210 • SF-326 • CD-342

Useful Documents:  • Gifts Holiday Gifts • Government Gifts • Travel Gifts


Conflicts

Certain financial interests and personal and business relationships can create a conflict of interest, which may require an employee's disqualification from working on certain matters.  The Conflicts page contains several useful handouts that describe situations in which conflicts of interest are likely to arise.


Outside Activities

It is permissible to engage in outside employment and other activities provided the activity is not prohibited by law, will not require disqualification from important Government duties, and will not create the appearance of use of public office for private gain.   Additionally, political appointees cannot serve as registered lobbyists.  Please note that there are also restrictions on outside teaching, speaking, and writing.  In some cases, employees may also serve with outside organizations in an official capacity.

Useful Documents:   Outside Activities • Use of Social Media • Outside Organizations • Contacting Government • Serving with an Outside Organization in an Official Capacity


Political Activities

The Hatch Act prohibits Federal employees from conducting political activities while on Government premises, using Government resources, or during duty hours.  Furthermore, the Hatch Act bars Federal employees from running for partisan political office or from fundraising for a candidate or political party.

Useful Documents:  • Political Activities • Political Activities for Intermittent Employees and SGEs • Political Activities In-Depth •  Hatch Act Poster • Hatch Act Video


Seeking and Post-Employment

Federal employees are always allowed to conduct a job search.  However, during the course of a job search, a Federal employee must disqualify him or herself from any matters affecting the financial interests of a prospective employer.  After leaving Federal service, a former employee may not contact a Federal agency or Federal court regarding a particular matter involving specific-parties (such as a contract) on which he or she participated personally and substantially.  The documents listed below contain information regarding the additonal restrictions that apply during a job search and after leaving Federal service.

Useful Documents:  • Seeking Employment (1-page) • Post-Employment (1-page) Seeking and Post-Employment In-Depth • Employee Notice: EDA's Post-employment Restriction • Notification of Employment Negotiation


Financial Disclosure Reports

The Division is also responsible for operating the Department’s financial disclosure program.  Employees in senior positions, including procurement officials, are required annually to file a financial disclosure report, in which the employee provides information regarding investments, sources of income, liabilities, gifts, and non-Federal positions held.  Some reports are available to the public (OGE Form 278e); others are confidential (OGE Form 450e).  All are reviewed by the Ethics Law and Programs Division staff to identify potential conflicts and to advise employees on corrective measures.

Key Forms:  • OGE Form 278e (Public Report - filed through INTEGRITY online filing system) • OGE Form 450 (Confidential Report) • OGE Form 450-A OGE Form 201 • Notice of Employment Negotiations

Useful Documents: • Introduction to INTEGRITY • OGE Form 450 Helpful Hints 


Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is a convenient means for Federal employees to donate to charities.  CFC fundraising events and activities must be approved in advance by the Ethics Law and Programs Division (except for payroll deductions).  The use of appropriated funds, the solicitation of donations for use as prizes from outside organizations, and donations from CFC Charities require approval from an ethics official.  However, kick-off events and rallies, sales/auctions of goods, and games of chance have been pre-approved and do not require further clearance.

Useful Documents:  • CFC Fundraising Clearance • CFC Ethics FAQ

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The Ethics Law and Programs Division published the first issue of its monthly newsletter, Compass , on January 24, 2017. You can find the most recent issue here , and past...
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Welcome to the interactive online ethics course for new Department of Commerce employees. This course is mandatory for all new employees and must be completed within 90 days...
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The Ethics Law and Programs Division advises current and former Department of Commerce employees on the seeking and post-employment statutes and regulations. Please refer to...
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​ The Hatch Act bars Federal employees from engaging in certain political activities. While most employees may engage in a wide range of partisan political activities during...
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An employee may engage in an outside activity, including non-Federal employment, as long as the activity does not conflict with the employee's Government duties. For...
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The Ethics Law and Programs Division provides advice on three broad categories of gifts: non-travel gifts to the Department, travel gifts to the Department, and personal...
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Conflicts of interest, which require an employee's disqualification from certain matters, can arise based upon the employee's financial interests or personal relationships...
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The Ethics Law and Programs Division administers two financial disclosure programs--the Public Financial Disclosure Program (OGE Form 278e) and the Confidential Financial...
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Summaries of Ethics Rules Rules for Specific Employees Select your component for a summary of the ethics rules that apply to you. Commerce BEA BIS Census EDA ESA FirstNet ITA...
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In addition to the forms below, you can find guidelines and forms related to official service with outside organizations here . Financial Disclosure and Employment...
Last updated: 2017-02-14 11:10

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