March 25, 2021
By: Shelley Finlayson
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has a unique and important relationship with Congress. OGE is both a source of information that helps Congress conduct its business and a conduit between the legislative branch and the executive branch ethics community.
This relationship is especially important today, as our country brings on wholly new Presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed (PAS) leadership to the executive branch. OGE transmits to the Senate the results of its work with agency ethics officials to make sure these more than 1,100 PAS nominees have properly disclosed their financial holdings and have made written commitments to resolve conflicts of interest. The Senate relies on OGE’s certifications and these disclosures so Senators can make informed decisions about the nominees seeking confirmation.
OGE also provides important expertise as Congress considers significant legislation to reform the executive branch ethics program. During the 116th Congress, both chambers together considered more than 200 bills that would have altered the executive branch ethics program, with many already reintroduced in the current Congress. OGE provides its expertise most often through technical assistance consultations, briefings, and correspondence. OGE makes this written correspondence available for you to see.
In addition, OGE supports congressional oversight of the ethics program and the agency itself. OGE provides support to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on its substantive ethics reviews, expertise to congressional committees on ethics oversight inquiries, and testimony and responses to written oversight requests. OGE also provides annual accountability materials, such as performance reports and budget justifications, to Congress.
We make all of this information available so citizens can see how OGE and the ethics program are doing in carrying out our unique role with the Congress.