Financial Disclosure Outline

Journal of Power and Ethics, January 2001 | Go to article overview

Financial Disclosure Outline


1st Basics For Ethics Counselors Workshop

Standards of Conduct Office (SOCO)DoD General Counsel October 15, 1999

I. REFERENCES

A. (Public Financial Disclosure --SF 278)

1. Ethics in Government Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App 4 (Pub. L. 95-521)

2. Ethics Reform Act of 1989, 5 U.S.C. App 4 (Pub. L. 101-194)

3. 5 C.F.R. 2634.101 to 805

4. DoD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation (JER) 7-200 to 7-209

5. Public Financial Disclosure: A Reviewer's Reference (OGE, 1994)

6. "Public Financial Disclosure: A Closer Look" OGE video emphasizing importance of completing SF 278 accurately and completely

7. SF 278 software: Dept of Interior homepage: http://www.ios.doi.gov/ethics/ethics.html

B. (Confidential Financial Disclosure --OGE Form 450)

1. 5 C.F.R. 2634.901 to 1004

2. JER section 7-300 to 7-310

3. OGE Form 450 Review Guide (OGE, 1966)

4. OGE DAEOGRAM DO-97-028 (5-25-97)

5. Final Rule, OGE Optional Form 450-A, Fed. Reg. Vol 62, No. 121, June 24, 1997, p. 33972

6. OGE Form 450 software: Department of Interior homepage: http://www.ios.doi.gov/ethics/ethics.html

N.B: Most of the above references, including all of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) publications and disclosure forms, are available on the OGE homepage: http://www.usoge.gov. The JER is available on the DoD SOCO homepage: http://www.defenselink.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/.

II. ROLE OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

A. Prevent conflicts of interest (18 U.S.C. 208, and 5 C.F.R. 2635.402 and 502).

B. A means, not an end.

C. Program requires complete follow through to be effective.

III. BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

A. For the employee: By completing the form, employees identify their financial interests. Hopefully, they recognize whether these interests may conflict with their official duties, and remember their interests should a potential conflict arise in the future.

B. For the supervisor: By reviewing the form, supervisors identify financial interests that may conflict with their employees= official duties.

C. For the ethics official: By reviewing the form, the ethics official ensures its technical compliance and identifies financial interests that may conflict with a filer's official duties.

By sending warning letters to filers, the ethics official reminds them of their financial interests, identifies potential conflicts of interest for them, and demonstrates official interest in their potential conflicts of interest.

D. The financial disclosure process provides excellent evidence of knowledge if violations occur and are prosecuted.

V. CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE (OGE Form 450 and OGE OF 450A)

A. Your Job - Review the Report

1. DoD conducts program reviews to OGE audit standards.

a. The purpose of OGE audits is to ensure that reports are complete so that a good conflict of interest analysis may be made. All reviews should use that standard all the time.

b. STOP THE CLOCK! - Get a preliminary review conducted ASAP to meet the 60 day review deadline. Technical deficiency review is sufficient. Question verification and DoD contractor review may be done later.

2. Preliminary Information - Common Problems

a. Reports pertain to the wrong reporting period - if an employee files for the first time during the annual cycle, it is an annual report because of the reporting period. You need either to collect a new entrant report, even though it would be late, or document a determination that filing is now required.

b. Appointment date is not included on new entrant reports.

c. Annual OGE Form 450s signed and/or filed prior to September 30th.

d. Report fails to receive supervisory review. After conducting preliminary review, return it to the employee, and request that corrections be made as appropriate, and that the employee submit it to the supervisor after corrected. …

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