October 22, 1999DO-99-039
Designated Agency Ethics Officials
Stephen D. PottsDirector
New Edition of the OGE Form 201 Ethics Act Access Form
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is issuing a new October 1999 edition of the OGE Form 201, "Request to Inspect or Receive Copies of SF 278 Executive Branch Personal Public Financial Disclosure Report or Other Covered Record." The revised Ethics Act access form, for which OGE recently obtained renewed three-year approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act from the Office of Management and Budget, is attached to this DAEOgram.
As noted in OGE's DAEOgram of March 18, 1999 (# DO-99-011) and the two paperwork renewal notices for the form, most of the changes to the slightly modified version of the OGE Form 201 are minor. Among the more noteworthy of these changes, OGE has added mention of any trust dissolution report (and the list of trust assets at that time) to the list of publicly available Ethics Act-qualified trust materials in Part III of the form, while clarifying that any trust instrument provisions relating to testamentary disposition of trust assets are not publicly available. See section 102(f)(5)(A)(i), (C) & (D) of the Ethics in Government Act, 5 U.S.C. appendix, § 102(f)(5)(A)(i), (C) and (D), and OGE's executive branchwide regulations thereunder at 5 C.F.R. § 2634.408(a)(1)(i), (a)(3) and (d). Moreover, OGE has revised the reference in the notice at the bottom of the first page (in Part II.A) to the civil monetary penalty under section 104(a) of the Ethics Act, 5 U.S.C. appendix, § 104(a), for prohibited uses of an SF 278 public report to which access has been obtained. The maximum penalty assessable in a court action for such misuse was recently raised from $10,000 to $11,000 in coordinated inflation adjustment rulemakings by OGE and the Department of Justice pursuant to the 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act revisions to the 1990 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. See OGE's DAEOgram of September 7, 1999 (# DO-99-033). Further, in response to the one comment received on the second round paperwork notice for the OGE Form 201 (none were received on the first round notice), OGE has clarified the text of Part I.5 of the form for requesting copies of particular SF 278 reports by adding the wording "most recent (or other, specify)." In addition, OGE has moved the reference to requesting copies of other covered records to the end of Part I.5.
This new October 1999 edition of the OGE Form 201 replaces the prior editions and is to be used instead of them. 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 (Uniform Resource Locator address: http://www.usoge.gov) and will be included in future editions of The Ethics CD-ROM. Moreover, the OGE Form 201 may be locally reproduced.
Attachment: Revised OGE Form 201.