Political appointees are subject to more ethics restrictions than regular executive branch employees. For purposes of this discussion, the term “political appointee” refers broadly to any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head. As used here, the term encompasses two categories of appointees. Each category is subject to additional and slightly different ethics restrictions.
Executive Order 13490 requires any political appointee who is appointed to a full-time position on or after January 20, 2009 must sign an Ethics Pledge. Under the pledge, each political appointee makes the following commitments:
If the appointee was a registered lobbyist during the prior two years, he makes the following additional commitments:
With some exceptions, those political appointees who are appointed by the President are subject to an additional restriction pertaining to outside earned income. Under Section 102 of Executive Order 12674, a political appointee who is appointed by the President to a full-time noncareer position in the executive branch is prohibited from receiving any earned income for any outside employment or activity performed during that Presidential appointment. Appointees in the following positions are exempt from this ban:
The information on this page is not a substitute for individual advice. Agency ethics officials should be consulted about specific situations.