Academic journal article Journal of Power and Ethics

Outside Activities, Including Political Activities Outline

Academic journal article Journal of Power and Ethics

Outside Activities, Including Political Activities Outline

Article excerpt

Outline of Instruction


A. Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. Part 2635, Subparts G & H.

B. DoD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation, Chapters 2, 3, 5 & 6.

C. Political Activities of Federal Employees, 5 C.F.R. Part 734.

D. DoD Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty.


A. There are many general and specific limitations placed on the outside activities of Federal personnel depending upon status (military or civilian, career or noncareer, senior or junior). These limitations focus on five goals:

1. Prevent conflicts of financial interests.

2. Prevent the misuse of Government resources.

3. Prevent the misuse of Government position.

4. Maintain an effective workforce.

5. Prevent conflicts of political interests.

B. Many of these concepts are discussed in greater depth elsewhere in the deskbook. In such cases, they will only be briefly cited in this section.


A. Employees may not engage in outside activities that conflict with their official duties if such activities are prohibited by statute or regulation, or would require the employee's disqualification from matters critical to his office. (5 C.F.R. [section] 2635.802)

1. In DoD, financial disclosure filers must obtain prior approval from their "Agency Designee" before working for a prohibited source. Permission shall be granted unless the outside activity involves conduct prohibited by statute or regulation. (5 C.F.R. [section] 2635.803; JER [section] 2-206).

2. Agency Designees may require prior approval of outside employment or activities, and may prohibit such activities if they will detract from readiness or pose a security risk. This authority is derived from SecDef's Title 10 authority to maintain military readiness and must be tied to a legitimate military mission requirement. (JER [section] 2-303).

B. Moonlighting in a second government position

1. No regular officer on active duty may hold a Federal, state, or local civil office. Acceptance of civil office terminates military appointment. Does not include state notary public office. (10 U.S.C. [section] 973(b)).

2. Military personnel may not accept compensation for holding another Federal position since their military duties make them "on call" 24 hours a day. Civilian employees may hold separate and distinct offices. (5 U.S.C. [section] 5536).

C. Moonlighting in non-governmental positions

1. Active duty officers may not accept outside employment that interferes with their performance of military duties. (10 U.S.C. [section] 973(a)).

2. Note: as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY-99 (P.L. 105-261), 10 U.S.C. [section] 974 has been repealed. This statute previously placed restrictions on active duty enlisted members engaging in compensated outside employment where interfering with employment of local civilians.

3. Members of military bands are restricted in the degree to which they may compete off-base with civilian musicians. 10 U.S.C. [sections] 3634, 6223, 8634; JER [section] 3-304.

D. Appearing as an expert witness. Employees may not appear as expert witnesses, other than on behalf of the United States, in any proceeding before a Federal agency or court in which the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. (5 C.F.R. [section] 2636.805).

1. May testify w/o compensation with DAEO approval.

2. Does not apply to fact witnesses when subpoenaed by appropriate authority.

E. Acceptance of gifts from prohibited sources or given because of official position. (See chapter on gifts).

F. Outside earned income limitation for covered noncareer employees. …

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