July 21, 2016
On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) published an interim final rule (IFR) adjusting the five civil monetary penalties (CMPs) set forth in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. appendix, as amended (Ethics Act). This rule was published in the Federal Register at 81 FR 41787.
As explained in OGE’s recent Legal Advisory on the penalty adjustments, OGE issued this rule as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. In the IFR, OGE amended parts of the Code of Federal Regulations, 5 CFR Part 2634 and 5 CFR Part 2636, to increase the maximum CMPs for the following five Ethics Act violations:
- Knowing and willful failure to file, report required information on, or falsification of a public financial disclosure report;
- Knowing and willful breach of a qualified trust by trustees and interested parties;
- Negligent breach of a qualified trust by trustees and interested parties;
- Misuse of a public report; and
- Violation of outside employment/activities provisions.
The increased amounts set forth in the IFR are applicable only to civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. For a brief summary of the rule and effective penalties, including a useful chart setting forth the maximum penalties based on the date of violation and/or assessment, see Legal Advisory LA-16-04 dated July 21, 2016. To review the Federal Register issuance, see 81 FR 41787 (June 28, 2016), available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-28/pdf/2016-15193.pdf.