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

Director's Notes


04/28/2017

Welcome to the Director’s Notes
This feature allows OGE’s Director to talk to you directly about the Federal executive branch ethics program. Read past Director’s Notes by clicking the “View Archives >” link below.

02/16/2017

Confidential Financial Disclosure: An Important Tool to Prevent Conflicts of Interest
While the rest of the world is focused on Valentine’s Day in mid-February, the executive branch ethics program is focused on financial disclosure. Yesterday was the deadline for approximately 370,000 mid-level federal officials to file their annual confidential financial disclosure reports. Government ethics officials review every one of these reports, scouring them for potential financial conflicts of interest . This massive undertaking is an important part of the mechanisms in place to guard the integrity of the government’s operations.

01/25/2017

A Refresher on the Impartiality Rule
On January 1, 2017, new government ethics training regulations went into effect. These regulations now require agencies to train more employees than in the past. They also place a new emphasis on four core topics: conflicts of interest, impartiality, misuse of position, and gifts. Earlier “Director’s Notes” have discussed conflicts of interest , misuse of position , and gifts. To round out the set, this Director’s note focuses on the impartiality rule.

01/13/2017

A Refresher on Misuse of Position
Executive branch employees are subject to an important set of ethics rules contained in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch . These rules serve to guard the federal service against ethical problems that could undermine public confidence in the integrity of the government’s operations. They regulate such things as conflicts of interest, misuse of position, impartiality, and gifts.

11/18/2016

OGE Amends the Executive Branch Gift Rules
Today, OGE has published amended rules on gifts from outside sources. The amended rules make several important changes to strengthen the executive branch ethics program.

11/03/2016

OGE Overhauls Requirements for the Executive Branch Ethics Program
For the first time since 1981, OGE has issued a regulation overhauling the requirements for the executive branch ethics program. The new requirements include increased ethics training requirements for executive branch employees, and significant new responsibilities for executive branch officials with ethics-related responsibilities.

10/26/2016

OGE Modernizes Executive Branch Ethics Training
OGE is pleased to announce the release of a portfolio of education products that agency ethics officials can use for initial ethics orientations and annual ethics training

09/22/2016

2015 Annual Agency Ethics Program Questionnaire Results Provide Valuable Insights
The results of OGE’s executive branchwide survey of agency ethics programs and a summary of key statistics are now available on OGE’s website. The data provides valuable insights into individual agencies and the executive branch ethics program as a whole.

08/29/2016

OGE’s New Presidential Transition Page
OGE’s website now features a Presidential Transition page targeting the Presidential campaigns, the future Presidential Transition Team, incoming Presidential nominees, the media, and the public. Based on OGE’s extensive experience with the nominee process, OGE has developed critical resources that will help to ensure that the transition is as smooth and effective as possible.

07/25/2016

OGE to Play a Critical Role in the Presidential Transition
One of OGE’s key responsibilities is to help the President-elect fill top leadership positions by moving prospective nominees through the nomination process quickly and free from conflicts of interest.

06/22/2016

OGE and Agency Ethics Officials Train for Post-Election Readiness
OGE supports ethics officials in their preparation for the presidential transition through our Transition Readiness Series.

03/02/2016

OGE Presents the 2016 National Government Ethics Summit and a Symposium on Financial Disclosure

01/11/2016

OGE’s Electronic Financial Disclosure System, Integrity: Off to a Strong Start
A year after its launch, Integrity is off to a strong start. The system has been widely adopted throughout the executive branch, with over 100 agencies and more than 10,000 filers registered. Integrity’s user population continues to expand, and in 2016 every executive branch agency is expected to have registered filers in the system.

12/02/2015

Remember the Gift Rules During the Holidays
It's that time of year again: The season for reminding federal employees about the government’s rules against accepting certain types of gifts.

11/25/2015

OGE’s New Approach to Ethics Education is a Success
Shortly after my appointment as Director in January 2013, I challenged OGE’s training staff to modernize and expand our efforts to educate ethics officials throughout the executive branch. On May 9, 2013, we announced our strategy in a program advisory and launched the Institute for Ethics in Government.

08/14/2015

Surveying the Government Ethics Operations of Executive Branch Agencies
The Ethics in Government Act requires each agency to submit an annual report regarding its government ethics operations. We have posted these reports, along with a summary of key statistics about the executive branch ethics program, on OGE’s website.

07/17/2015

OGE and the Inspector General Community
OGE and agency Inspectors General work together to ensure that the American public can have confidence in the integrity of its government.

04/06/2015

Enhancing the International Dialogue on Good Governance
OGE works with the State Department to support efforts to fight corruption across the globe. As part of this effort, OGE recently participated in a review of the United States’ implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

03/18/2015

Meet OGE's New Deputy Director for Compliance, Dale Christopher
I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has selected Dale “Chip” Christopher for the position of Deputy Director for Compliance.

01/02/2015

2014 Year in Review and What’s Next for OGE
January is a time for reflection as well as a time to set priorities for the New Year. I want to share just a few highlights from 2014 and provide a preview of what to expect from OGE in 2015.

12/02/2014

A Holiday Reminder about the Gift Rules
The holiday season is upon us again, with homemade treats, gift baskets, assorted other goodies, and invitations abundant in workplaces across the country. For federal employees, now is a good time to review the government’s ethics rules on gifts.

09/30/2014

By the Numbers: The National Government Ethics Summit was a Success
OGE's first National Government Ethics Summit was a success.  We brought together ethics officials and other stakeholders to strengthen the executive branch ethics program and, with our partners, presented an extraordinary quantity of high-quality training at a low cost.

09/12/2014

The National Government Ethics Summit Begins
OGE kicked off the National Government Ethics Summit this week.

08/22/2014

Excitement Builds for the First National Government Ethics Summit
Excitement is building for the first National Government Ethics Summit, which OGE is hosting throughout the month of September. Participate in the Summit virtually.

08/07/2014

The Three Branches of Government Team Up to Support Ethics
Ethics practitioners from the three branches of the federal government meet regularly to discuss common ethics issues and areas of interest. These meetings provide an invaluable Government-wide perspective on ethics.

07/18/2014

Expansion of OGE’s Oversight of Agency Ethics Programs Through a New Inspections Process
OGE is responsible for evaluating the ethics programs of federal agencies. OGE has expanded the reach of its oversight function by supplementing program reviews with a new inspections process.

07/02/2014

OGE delivers its first Massive Open Online Course
OGE delivers its first Massive Open Online Course

06/16/2014

Meet OGE’s Chief of Staff & Program Counsel, Shelley K. Finlayson
Meet OGE's Chief of Staff & Program Counsel, Shelley K. Finlayson

05/19/2014

Public Financial Disclosure: Ensuring Integrity and Transparency in Government
Every year, the government's top leaders disclose their financial interests in reports that are available to the public. This annual exercise in transparency is a cornerstone of the ethics program because the executive branch uses these reports to identify and resolve potential conflicts of interests.

05/05/2014

Honoring Our Public Servants. Connecting Citizens with Their Government
It’s Public Service Recognition Week! OGE thanks the dedicated public servants in our nation’s workforce of more than 2 million executive branch employees, especially the 5,000 executive branch ethics officials who protect the integrity of the government’s operations.

04/04/2014

Two Years since the Passage of the STOCK Act
Two years ago, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) imposed the most sweeping changes to executive branch ethics laws in over 20 years.

03/27/2014

OGE Hosts Virtual Ethics Training Symposium
This week, OGE hosted a virtual training symposium for approximately 150 executive branch agency ethics officials.

03/19/2014

Sunshine Week 2014
OGE commemorates Sunshine Week by taking stock of how far OGE has come in promoting transparency.

03/10/2014

Release of OGE’s Strategic Plan
OGE has released its 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, which lays out OGE’s strategy for accomplishing the important mission of the executive branch ethics program.

02/26/2014

Government Ethics Education Year in Review
Ethics training is essential to ensuring uniformity in the application of ethics laws and policy. 2013 saw a significant expansion of OGE’s ethics education offerings.

02/11/2014

OGE’s Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey
OGE’s Conflict of Interest Prosecution Survey illustrates the high standard to which federal employees are held and the potential consequences for the few who violate the public’s trust.

01/31/2014

Meeting with Senior White House Officials and Agency Ethics Leaders
This week I met with senior White House officials and agency ethics leaders to discuss recent developments in the executive branch ethics community. 

01/22/2014

Announcing OGE’s New General Counsel
I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has a new General Counsel. This morning, I administered the oath of office to David J. Apol.

01/07/2014

2013 Year in Review
One year ago, I was sworn in as Director of OGE, a “small agency with the big mission of making sure the public can have confidence in the government’s impartiality.” Looking back a year later, I am proud of the work that OGE accomplished in 2013.

12/13/2013

The Gift Rules Do Not Take a Holiday
This time of year has become a season for gift-giving and gift-getting. In the federal workplace, the ethics rules prohibiting certain gifts do not take a holiday.

12/05/2013

Responding to Emerging Issues: The Windsor Decision
In the context of the Windsor decision, OGE’s Director discusses one of the most important ways OGE serves the executive branch ethics community – providing timely and accurate advice on emerging issues affecting the ethics program.

11/08/2013

35th Anniversary of the Ethics in Government Act
The Office of Government Ethics celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, the law most directly responsible for the executive branch ethics program as we know it.

09/27/2013

Welcome to the Director's Notes
We have created this new feature so I can talk to you directly about the ethics program in the executive branch of the Federal government.