The “topics” on this website correspond to the subject areas addressed by the criminal and civil statutes, executive orders, and administrative code of conduct that are central to the executive branch ethics program. More than one ethics provision may be relevant to a particular topic. Certain conduct is prohibited by statutes, regulations, or other legal authorities that do not fall within the purview of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE), but some of those legal authorities are referenced in website materials if relevant to a topic. OGE’s mission does not extend to enforcement, but the website includes some discussion of that subject because enforcement is integral to the success of the executive branch ethics program.
An executive branch employee’s personal or "imputed" financial interests or other circumstances may require that the employee be disqualified from working on a particular Government matter, be prohibited from holding specified property, or be prohibited from accepting a payment from a non-Federal source.
An executive branch employee generally may not give (or solicit contributions for) a gift to an official superior or accept a gift from another employee who receives less pay; generally may not solicit or accept a gift from a “prohibited source” or given because of the employee’s official position, and may be prohibited from accepting a payment from a non-Federal source.
An executive branch employee is required to act impartially; may not make improper use of Government position, title, or authority; and may not use Government property, nonpublic information, or time (including the time of a subordinate) for other than authorized purposes.
An executive branch employee may be required to seek approval before engaging in an outside activity; may be disqualified from working on a particular Government matter while engaged in the activity; may be prohibited from accepting compensation for an activity; or may be prohibited from engaging in a particular outside activity.
An executive branch employee may be disqualified from working on a particular Government matter while seeking post-Government employment and, after leaving Government service, a former employee is prohibited from engaging in certain activities.
Executive branch ethics provisions generally apply only to Government “employees”; may apply only to certain categories of employees or may apply differently to certain categories of employees or not at all; and generally do not apply to “representatives” serving on an advisory committee or to independent contractors.
When ethics officials find evidence that an employee has violated an ethics criminal statute or regulation, they must refer that evidence to the appropriate authority for action.