February 15, 2023
From: Emory Rounds
On and around February 15th, hundreds of thousands executive branch employees will file confidential financial disclosure reports. As these reports are filed, thousands of supervisors and ethics officials will set to work reviewing and certifying them. The confidential financial disclosure filing season is an intensive undertaking across the executive branch to prevent financial conflicts of interest.
Executive branch employees are designated by their agencies as confidential financial disclosure filers when their government responsibilities have potential to pose a risk for substantial conflicts. For example, employees who work on contracts, investigations, or litigation are likely to be required to file confidential financial disclosure reports. In these reports, filers are required to disclose their personal financial interests and the interests of their spouse and dependent children. They report their stocks, sector mutual funds, some liabilities, and outside employment or business interests. Reviewers then analyze the reported holdings to determine if they pose a potential for conflict. For example, an employee who serves as a contracting officer might hold stock in a company that is likely to bid on an agency contract. If the employee cannot recuse or be reassigned from the review of such bid, the reviewer is likely to direct the employee to sell the stock, before beginning that work.
This process, while requiring effort from both filers and reviewers, is vital to protect the integrity of government programs and operations. Government employees who are asked to file these reports are, by and large, responsive to the request and diligent in their reporting. They know that this process is vital to protecting the trust of the public we serve. And, we at OGE make resources available to assist filers and the ethics officials who support them.
I am grateful to each and all of the federal employees who fully and timely complete their disclosures. I am equally grateful to the reviewers of these reports. Together, they carry out a vital function that strengthens our government and our nation.