Several criminal and civil statutes, executive orders, and an administrative code of conduct are central to the executive branch ethics program. Notably:
Political appointees are subject to more ethics restrictions than regular executive branch employees.
Executive branch ethics provisions apply to “employees” who serve on advisory committees, including employees who qualify as special Government employees, but do not apply to committee members who serve as “representatives” or who are independent contractors.
If an employee is temporarily assigned (“detailed”) to another position, there may or may not be an effect on the applicability of various ethics provisions.
Some ethics provisions that apply to executive branch employees apply differently to an employee who qualifies as a “special Government employee” (SGE), or do not apply at all. Congress created the SGE category in 1962 in connection with a major revision of the criminal conflict of interest statutes.