DO-08-006: Book Deals Involving Government Employees

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March 6, 2008




Designated Agency Ethics Officials


Robert I. Cusick


Book Deals Involving Government Employees

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) frequently receives questions about whether an employee may enter into an agreement with a publishing company to write a book for compensation. Various provisions of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, the criminal conflict of interest laws, and the rules on outside earned income apply in such a case. However, the application of the ethics rules to book deals can be complex. For example, what the book is about and the timing and type of compensation may dictate different results depending on the type of employee seeking to receive compensation. Because of this complexity, OGE has decided that it would be useful to issue two separate summaries on book deals, with each one addressing different classes of employees.

The first summary (Part I) addresses regular Government employees and special Government employees. The second summary (Part II) addresses covered non-career employees and Presidential appointees to full-time non-career positions. Each part is a self-contained summary of how to apply the appropriate ethics rules to the particular types of employees that are the subject of the summary. This approach will necessarily generate some degree of overlap, but the repetition is justified by the added convenience of having each document contain a comprehensive analysis for the types of employees covered.

As you will see, each summary describes six questions to answer when analyzing a book deal question. Any comments or questions may be directed to Seth Jaffe, Attorney-Advisor, at 202-482-9303.


Part I: Regular Employees and SGEs
Part II: Covered Noncareer Employees and Presidential Appointees