October 16, 1996DO-96-038
Designated Agency Ethics Officials
Stephen D. PottsDirector
Paperwork Renewal of OGE Form 201 Access Form (Revised) and SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Report
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) recently obtained from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) renewed approval for three years under the Paperwork Reduction Act for two of the forms it sponsors.
Revised OGE Form 201
The first form is a revised version of the OGE Form 201, "Request to Inspect or Receive Copies of SF 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report or Other Covered Record." This new July 1996 edition of the OGE Form 201 is being distributed to all executive departments and agencies as an attachment to this memorandum. The form is also available on OGE's electronic bulletin board TEBBS (telephone: 202-208-8030), on OGE's new World Wide Web Site via the Internet (address: http://www.access.gpo.gov/usoge), and will be included in the next edition of the ethics CD-ROM. The new edition of the OGE Form 201 should be used in lieu of the prior July 1993 edition. See also the OGE paperwork notices for this form, as published in the Federal Register at 61 FR 357-358 (January 4, 1996) and 61 FR 24796-24798 (May 16, 1996).
The OGE Form 201 continues to serve as the standardized form for seeking access to SF 278 reports and certain other publicly available materials under the provisions of section 105 of the Ethics in Government Act and 5 C.F.R. § 2634.603 of OGE's regulations thereunder. The revised form now includes in Part III (Other Covered Records) a listing of publicly available qualified trust documents that can be requested (i.e., the trust instruments for both qualified blind and qualified diversified trusts, the list of assets transferred to such trusts, the list of assets sold in the case of a qualified blind trust, and the certificates of independence and compliance). In addition, Part II.C of the form now includes a newly mandated notification under the amended Paperwork Reduction Act and implementing OMB regulations to the effect that: "an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and no person is required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number (that number is displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the front page of this OGE Form 201)."
Departments and agencies are encouraged to use the OGE Form 201, which is locally reproducible. Alternatively, departments and agencies may develop and use their own access forms, provided all the statutorily mandated information (i.e., name, address and occupation of the requester, name and address of any other person on whose behalf access is sought, and a statement of prohibited uses) is contained thereon. In such case, proper Paperwork Reduction Act and Privacy Act approvals and notifications have to be obtained by the department or agency concerned.
The second form for which OGE has secured renewed paperwork clearance is the Standard Form (SF) 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report. This form has not been modified. However, in the next year or two OGE will undertake a review of this report form to identify any possible improvements for the future as well as to reflect the new requirements noted below. For now, OGE is asking agencies to inform filers of certain higher value categories for major assets, income and liabilities over $1,000,000 as required under amendments to the Ethics in Government Act enacted as part of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. See the discussion in the OGE paperwork notices for this form as published in the Federal Register at 61 FR 8941-8942 (March 6, 1996) and 61 FR 41162-41164 (August 7, 1996) and OGE DAEOgrams DO-96-006 (January 29, 1996) and DO-96-023 (April 25, 1996). In addition, as required under the revised Paperwork Reduction Act and OMB regulations, OGE asks that agencies inform SF 278 filers in writing of the new paperwork notification as follows: "An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and no person is required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number (that number is displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the SF 278)." This paperwork notification can accompany the supplementary instructions regarding reporting for higher value categories noted above that OGE has asked departments and agencies to provide all filers by memorandum at the time blank SF 278 report forms are distributed. Departments and agencies should continue to order the SF 278 report forms from the Customer Supply Centers of the Federal Supply Service, General Services Administration (the National Stock Number (NSN) for the form is 7540-01-070-8444).
Any questions about the forms matters discussed in this memorandum can be directed to William E. Gressman in the OGE General Counsel's Office (telephone: 202-208-8000, extension 1110).