United States Office of Government Ethics, Preventing Conflicts of Interest in the Executive Branch

Institutional Integrity in the Executive Branch
February 28, 2018

The Ethics in Government Act charges OGE with leading the effort to prevent conflicts of interest in the executive branch. OGE undertakes this important prevention mission as part of a framework comprising executive branch agencies and entities whose work focuses on institutional integrity. In addition to government ethics, this framework includes merit system protections in the civil service; full and open competition in procurement; fiscal controls; transparency programs; investigation of waste, fraud, and abuse; and criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement. Potential violations of legal authorities established under this framework, including government ethics authorities, are primarily investigated by the thousands of Inspectors General staff members across the executive branch. In addition, the Department of Justice has enforcement authority that includes both civil and criminal penalties. Learn More >

identification and enforcement graphic chartWithin this framework, the ethics program works to ensure that public servants impartially carry out the governmental responsibilities entrusted to them, and that they serve as good stewards of public resources. Toward these goals, the mission of the ethics program centers on preventing conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest that stem from financial interests, business or personal relationships, misuse of official position, official time, or public resources, and the receipt of gifts. 

Taken together, the systems in place to identify and address conflicts of interest establish a foundation on which to build and sustain an ethical culture in the executive branch.