June 2, 2017
The Ethics in Government Act gives OGE the authority to collect executive branch records and information related to the ethics program. At the end of April, OGE announced that it was collecting copies of waivers and authorizations issued in the past 12 months to certain high-level executive branch officials. OGE set a deadline of June 1 to receive waivers and authorizations issued to appointees serving in the United States and August 1 for appointees serving outside the United States. We have received responses from 135 of 136 agencies, and we are following up with the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation for its outstanding response.
Having access to these waivers is critical to OGE’s oversight of the executive branch-wide ethics program. They enable OGE to evaluate how agency ethics offices are carrying out an important aspect of their mission to detect and resolve conflicts of interest. They also enable OGE to evaluate compliance with ethics requirements by certain individual appointees. OGE’s Compliance Division will analyze the records and information that agencies have produced and issue a report.
In the meantime, OGE will release the documents it has collected so that the public can analyze them, too. In order to stay consistent with OGE’s standard practices, OGE is going to follow a specific procedure for releasing them.
1. Most of the documents OGE has received from agencies will be made available to the public via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). OGE has received several FOIA requests for these documents, which triggers a mandatory requirement for OGE to post responsive records in OGE’s Electronic Reading Room. OGE expects that these documents will be available in its Electronic Reading Room page at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, or shortly thereafter. OGE will also post a list of responding agencies and will indicate the number and types of waivers in the Appointee and Nominee Records section of the website.
2. OGE will use a different process for waivers issued under the primary criminal conflict of interest statute (18 U.S.C. § 208). OGE’s longstanding practice is to release this type of waiver through the OGE Form 201 request process. To file a request, complete the OGE Form 201. In Box 5, enter the following description: “All 18 U.S.C. § 208(b)(1) waivers related to PA-17-02.” Then email a PDF copy of the completed form to 201Forms@oge.gov. If you would like to receive OGE’s response via email, please be sure to include your email address in the body of your email. (If you are unable send the form by email, you may send it to OGE via Regular Mail at U.S. Office of Government Ethics, 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005-3917.) At 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, OGE will respond to any OGE Form 201 requests filed at least 24 hours in advance (i.e., 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday) that limit the description of requested documents to the language supplied above.
3. Responsive documents released by the White House Office were posted online on Wednesday afternoon. They can be accessed by clicking here. (Note that the names in the far left column are hyperlinked to the waivers and authorizations.)