June 15, 1999DO-99-029
Designated Agency Ethics Officials
Stephen D. PottsDirector
New Edition of the OGE Form 450 Confidential 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 a slightly revised version of the OGE Form 450 Executive Branch Confidential Financial Disclosure Report. OGE is issuing the new April 1999 edition of the OGE Form 450 as an attachment to this DAEOgram.
As announced in OGE's DAEOgram of March 18, 1999 (# DO-99- 011), most of the minor changes to the OGE Form 450 are stylistic in nature. OGE has now also updated the examples in parts IV and V of the form. In addition, OGE has made a couple of needed minor revisions to the privacy and paperwork notices in the instructions to the form.
OGE has made one substantive change to the form, which we noted as a possibility in the prior DAEOgram. On March 22, 1999, the General Services Administration (GSA) raised "minimal value" under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.S.C. § 7342, to $260 or less for the three-year period 1999-2001. See 64 Federal Register 13700-13701. Since that value now exceeds $250, OGE is raising the thresholds on both the instructions and the report form (part V) of the OGE Form 450 for reporting of gifts and travel reimbursements to "more than $260" for the aggregation level for reporting, and "$104 or less" for the de minimis threshold (as increased by the same percentage), for gifts and reimbursements from any one source.(1) These increases are necessary because under section 102(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Ethics in Government Act, 5 U.S.C. appendix, § 102(a)(2)(A) and (B), the gifts/reimbursements reporting thresholds (including for the confidential reports under 5 C.F.R. § 2634.907(a)(3)) are tied to any such increase of foreign gifts "minimal value" over $250. We expect that from now on, those reporting thresholds will have to be adjusted every three years as GSA adjusts "minimal value" under the foreign gifts law.
OGE has determined that departments and agencies can utilize the new higher thresholds for the entire fiscal year 1999 reporting period for the annual incumbent filer OGE Form 450 reports due this fall,(2) even though the old, lower thresholds ($250 aggregate and $100 de minimis) still applied for the last three months of 1998. This will lessen the burden on filers and provide for ease of administration. If any departments or agencies want to split the thresholds for 1998 and 1999, they should so instruct filers using the new edition of the form.
The new April 1999 edition of the OGE Form 450 should be used in lieu of the prior editions. In addition to distribution as an attachment to this DAEOgram, a viewable and downloadable Portable Document Format (PDF) electronic image of the new version of the form is available in the Ethics Resource Library section of OGE's Internet Web site (address: http://www.usoge.gov)and will be included in future editions of The Ethics CD-ROM. Moreover, the OGE Form 450 may be locally reproduced. OGE will work to produce a fillable electronic version of the new edition of the OGE Form 450, though printing out and manual signature will still be required for now. OGE will also place that version of the form on our Web site. Any questions about the new OGE Form 450 can be directed to your OGE desk officer.
Attachment: Revised OGE Form 450 (4/99 edition).
1. This change will also affect the SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Report and the executive branch financial disclosure gifts/reimbursements reporting provision at 5 C.F.R. § 2634.304. OGE will separately revise that report form and the regulation. The annual SF 278 reports which were due May 15, 1999, covering calendar year 1998 are not affected.
2. New entrants and special Government employee filers do not have to report gifts and reimbursements.