The Legal Advisories page contains the DAEOgrams on substantive ethics issues published by OGE from 1992 to 2010, the Advisory Opinions published by OGE from 1979 to 2010, and the Legal Advisories, which OGE began publishing in 2011.
This Legal Advisory provides guidance to agencies on factors to consider in determining whether references to an employee's title or position made by a private organization with which the employee is affiliated would create an impermissible appearance of government sanction or endorsement.
OGE analyzes whether, under 5 C.F.R. § 2635.802, an agency may issue an across-the-board policy that an employee may not run for or hold nonpartisan elective office because election to that office may have the potential to create the appearance of misuse of the employee's federal position. OGE also provides guidance on related ethics issues.
Government employees are generally prohibited from acting as agent or attorney for anyone before a Federal court in connection with any covered matter in which the U.S. is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. 18 U.S.C. § 205(i) provides an exception for representing a "labor organization" under certain conditions.
OGE determined that, although an employee would violate 18 U.S.C. § 205 if he represented taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service, 18 U.S.C. § 205 does not prohibit an employee from assisting another in preparing their income tax returns.
5 C.F.R. part 2635.803 provides that, when required to do so by agency supplemental regulations, an employee shall obtain prior approval before engaging in an outside activity. This section applies to uncompensated as well as compensated outside activities.
A special Government employee (SGE) who serves in a volunteer capacity as the executive director of a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization is subject to several restrictions on his participation in agency matters pertaining to the non-profit.
OGE responds to concerns that the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 would impede the volunteerism of Federal employees. The conflicts of interest statutes that raise concerns (18 U.S.C. §§ 205 and 208) are not new to the Ethics Reform Act.
Conflicts of interest can arise when a law student is in a criminal justice clinic and employed by the Federal Government. A student’s appointment with the Federal Government (whether they are a special Government employee and how long they have worked for the agency) will determine the application of the criminal conflict of interest statute.
Mere membership in an outside organization dealing directly with the agency an employee manages does not create an 18 U.S.C. § 208 conflict of interest. However, the appearance of conflict may occur under the regulatory standards of conduct and the agency must determine whether recusal from specific matters or membership withdrawal is necessary.
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