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May 15, 2003
TO: Designated Agency Ethics Officials
FROM: Jack Covaleski Deputy Director, Office of Agency Programs
SUBJECT: Reporting Payments Accepted Under 31 U.S.C. § 1353
Agency heads are required to submit to the Director, Office of Government Ethics (OGE) semiannual reports of payments for travel, subsistence and related expenses received from non-Federal sources in connection with the attendance of employees at certain meetings or similar functions. (31 U.S.C. § 1353) The next semiannual report should be submitted to OGE not later than May 31, 2003, concerning payments received from October 1, 2002, through March 31, 2003. Agencies must submit negative reports.
The GSA website (www.gsa.gov/forms) contains a downloadable form (SF 326, Semiannual Report of Payments Accepted from a Non-Federal Source) that can be used for reporting this information. One format of this form is screen-fillable and can be electronically transmitted to OGE via email to 1353Travel@oge.gov. We strongly encourage the use of this format because it facilitates a more efficient transmittal. However, any reporting format can be used as long as it is designed in accordance with the criteria set forth in 41 C.F.R. part 304-1.
This will be the last semi-annual report for which use of the standard form will not be required. GSA has published a final rule, effective June 16, 2003, in which it requires the use of the standard form for reporting these payments. Therefore, agencies must use the SF 326 when submitting their next semiannual report of payments accepted from non-Federal sources. The final rule also clarifies OGE’s role: OGE is to collect and make publically available the information submitted in these semiannual reports. OGE’s acceptance of this information does not constitute an OGE determination that the information is adequate or an OGE concurrence with the agency’s conflict of interest analysis. (See 68 Federal Register 12602-12610 published March 17, 2003)