Presentation on theme: "2013 Annual Ethics Training Presented by Heather LoPresti DHRA Associate General Counsel (571) 372-1988."— Presentation transcript:
12013 Annual Ethics Training Presented by Heather LoPresti DHRA Associate General Counsel (571)
2DHRA Ethics Officials Designated Agency Ethics Official Robert S. Taylor, General Counsel (GC) (Acting), DoDDeputy Designated Agency Ethics OfficialCarolyn Howell, GC, DHRA, (571)Ethics Counselor (Primary)Heather LoPresti, Associate GC, (571)Ethics CounselorsHattie DuBois, Associate GC, (571)Mathew Ponzar, Associate GC, (571)
3ASK BEFORE YOU ACTThere is no attorney client privilege between you and the DHRA Ethics CounselorReliance on a written opinion from an ethics counselor, after full disclosure by you, will certainly help. However, only the Department of Justice decides who it will, or will not, prosecute for criminal violations.
4Goal of Ethics Training To assist you in carrying out your duties in an ethical manner and to ensure you are aware of specific ethics laws and regulations.
5ETHICAL CHOICESMost of us will faithfully discharge the duties of the office we have been honored to serve. There have been incidents where Federal employees have lost their way and committed ethical violations. The following are some examples.5
6ETHICAL CHOICES GSA’s $823,000 Las Vegas 2010 Conference Bribery and Kickback investigationPrivate parties in M Resort Spa CasinoPool side entertainmentConference support contracts awarded sole source in violation of procurement regulationMartha J. Johnson, GSA Administrator ResignsJohnson, called the conference a “raucous, extravagant, arrogant, self-congratulatory event that ultimately belittled federal workers… I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment.”6
7ETHICAL CHOICESVoorhis v. Dep’t of Homeland Security, 2010 MSPB (May 5, 2010) (misuse of position; use of nonpublic information; lack of candor)GS-13 removed from federal employment because he conducted unauthorized queries of individuals on an official government computer database, and made unauthorized disclosures7
8Presentation Road MapThe Principles of Ethical Conduct, C.F.RConflicts of InterestImpartiality in performing official dutiesOutside ActivitiesConferencesOther stuff8
9Basic Obligation of Public Service Following is a discussion of the Principles of Ethical Conduct. These principles are things that we all intuitively understand. Public service is an honor, and we all feel good when we serve honorably.9
10Basic Obligation of Public Service IntegrityHonorPatriotismPublic Services is a Public TrustAccountabilitySelflessness10
11Basic Obligation of Public Service Do Not Solicit Gifts from Entities Seeking Official ActionDo Not Accept Gifts from Prohibited Sources Unless An Exception AppliesAvoid Even anAppearance of Ethical ViolationsDo Not Make Unauthorized Commitments on Behalf of the GovernmentPut Forth An Honest Effort In Performing Your Duties11
12Basic Obligation of Public Service Do not use nonpublic information for private gainDo not use your public office for private gainDo protect and conserve federal propertyDo act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individualDo be a good citizen – satisfy in good faith your financial obligationsDo comply with laws and regulations that provide equal opportunityDo disclose fraud, waste, and abuse12
13Basic Obligation of Public Service Do Not Hold Financial Interests That Conflict With The Conscientious Performance Of Duty.Do Not Engage In Outside Employment Or Activities, Including Seeking Or Negotiating For Employment, That Conflict With Official Government Duties And Responsibilities.13
14Conflicts of Interest 18 U.S.C. 208 It is a crime for you to take official action in particular matters, such as contracts, or source selections, where you, your spouse, minor child, general partner, any organization where you serve as an officer, director, trustee, general partner, or employee, or any non-Federal entity with whom you are negotiating employment has a financial interest.14
15Conflicts of Interest 18 U.S.C. 208 Examples of conflicts that violate this statute:You serve on a source selection evaluation board when your spouse holds stock in excess of $15,000 in one of the companies offering under a solicitation.You are a contracting officer’s representative (COR), working diligently at your desk, when your contractor calls to offer you a job. You start negotiations without first disqualifying yourself as the COR.15
16Conflicts of Interest 18 U.S.C. 208 Another example of a conflict of interest that would violate 18 U.S.C. 208:You serve on a source selection evaluation board and one of the offerors employs your spouse. Your spouse will lose her job if you do not award the contract to her company. This is a conflict of interest.16
17Conflicts of Interest 18 U.S.C. 208 What if your spouse works for a different division of the company, and there is nothing you can do in your evaluation of proposals that would affect her financial interests? She will not lose her job, promotion, perks, and does not participate in profit sharing. Is this still a conflict of interest?17
18Conflicts of Interest 18 U.S.C. 208 ANSWER: No!As your spouse works in a different division and you cannot affect her financial interests through your participation on the evaluation board, this is not a conflict of interest under 18 U.S.C. 208.However, you should discuss with your supervisor and OGC whether your participation will nevertheless be a disqualifying financial interest under the impartiality principle as implemented by 5 C.F.R18
19Resolution of Conflicts Disqualification/RecusalRegulatory ExemptionReassignmentDivestiture (voluntary or required)Certificate of Divestiture may be available to defer tax consequence from selling conflicting financial interests – You must obtain the certificate before you sell the interest. See OGC!!!Qualified Trusts (expensive)Individual Waiver (rarely given)Termination (last resort)
20Conflict Remedies Regulatory Exemptions Stocks/Securities:De minimis exemptionFor publicly traded stocks, as long as you own less than $15k in a participating company (contractors, subcontractors, companies offering under a solicitation), you may participate in the acquisition, contract, or other particular matter.Remember: You must aggregate the value of stock ownership. The aggregate includes all financial interests in the fund or funds, held by you, your spouse, your minor children, and general partner. For example, if you own $10K of company X stock and your spouse owns $10K of company X stock, you must add the two together, for a value of $20K. In such a case, you would have a conflict of interest.
21Conflict Remedies Regulatory Exemptions Sector Mutual FundUnder the ethics rules, a sector mutual fund is a mutual fund that concentrates its investments in an industry, business, single country other than the United States, or bonds of a single State within the United States (e.g., Aim China, Aim Technology Fund).How do you recognize a sector fund?Fund name usually includes clues about its concentration (e.g., Aim Energy Fund or Fidelity Advisor Biotechnology).Look at the Investment Strategy in the prospectus of the fund. Does the strategy state that it will concentrate in one sector? If so, it is probably a sector fund.When in doubt, seek ethics advice.
22Conflict Remedies Regulatory Exemptions Sector Mutual Funds:De minimis Exemption: The aggregate market value of your interests in the sector fund or funds, not just the value of a conflicting holding, is less than $50,000.ORThe affected holding is NOT in the sector of a fund’s concentration.E.g., if a mutual fund that invests primarily in the health care industry also holds stock in a computer company, you would be permitted to work on assignments potentially affecting the computer company, because it is not within the fund’s sector of concentration, i.e. health care.Tip: The aggregate includes all financial interests in the fund or funds, held by you, your spouse, your minor children, and general partner.
23Conflict Remedies Regulatory Exemptions Remember: You are responsible for monitoring the value of your financial interests in stocks and sector mutual funds throughout the year to ensure that you remain below the regulatory exemption thresholds.Additional regulatory exemptions exist for certain private sector employee benefit plans, such as defined benefit plans.Other regulatory exemptions may also apply.If you believe you have a conflict of interest, do not participate in the matter, and seek ethics advice immediately. There may be a regulatory exemption or other remedy is available to you.
24Impartiality in Performing Official Duties 5 C.F.R. 2635.502 Do not participate in a matter likely to affect the financial interest of a member of your household, orDo not participate in a matter where a person with whom you have a covered relationship is also involved, andA reasonable person with knowledge of the facts would question your impartiality.24
25Impartiality in Performing Official Duties 5 C.F.R. 2635.502 Covered Relationships include:Members of your householdRelatives with whom you have a close personal relationshipPersons or organizations in which you have or seek business, contractual, or other financial relationshipPersons or organizations in which your spouse, parent, or dependent child is serving or seeking to serve as an officer, director, trustee, general partner, agent, attorney, consultant, contractor or employeeOrganizations in which you served as officer, director, agent, contractor, consultant, or employee within last yearDo these brothers look impartial? We do not want to see you negotiating across the table from your brother!25
26A Word About Disqualification DoD Supplemental Standards at 5 C.F.R are more stringent than Office of Government Ethics Regulations.DoD requires that for disqualifying financial interests, where you have an actual conflict of interest under 18 U.S.C. 208, your disqualification must be in writing!For disqualifications to ensure impartiality, your disqualification notice must also be in writing!26
27A Word About Disqualification Provide the notice to your supervisor with copy to DHRA OGC. Contact DHRA OGC for sample notices.Always seek ethics advice regarding conflicts and impartiality problems before you participate to avoid an ethical failure.Your ethics counselor can assist you in determining whether any regulatory exemptions apply.27
28WARNING: Ethics Training Has Been Known To Cause Excessive Sleepiness WARNING: Ethics Training Has Been Known To Cause Excessive Sleepiness. Please Feel Free to Pause For A Brief, Not Excessive, Coffee/Tea, or Stretch Break.
29Outside ActivitiesWhether you decide to be an entertainer, barrista, office worker, or even the tooth fairy in off duty hours, there are ethics laws and regulations that will restrict your outside activities.
30Outside Activities Criminal Statutes That Restrict Outside Activities: 18 U.S.C. 208, Conflicts of Interest18 U.S.C. 203, Representation18 U.S.C. 205, Representation18 U.S.C. 209, Dual Compensation18 U.S.C. 1905, Disclosure of Confidential Info41 U.S.C. 2102, Disclosure of Procurement Info
31Outside Activities Criminal Statutes That Restrict Outside Activities: 18 U.S.C. 203, RepresentationBars employees from seeking or accepting compensation for representing another before a Federal department, agency, or court in matters where the U.S. is a party or has a substantial interest; or receiving money from anyone else’s representation.18 U.S.C. 205, RepresentationForbids employees from prosecuting or assisting in the prosecution of claims against the U.S.; or representing another before a Federal department, agency or court in matters where the U.S. is a party or has a substantial interest.
32Outside ActivitiesReceipt of Income by Federal Employee Results in 18 U.S.C. 203 ViolationA former employee of the Department of Transportation was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for receiving unauthorized compensation from a Government contractor for performing Government duties. The employee, in his capacity as a Supervisory Marine Surveyor for the Maritime Administration, accepted compensation from a company for providing representational services in preparing a bid package for a $1 million U.S. Coast Guard contract.The employee pled guilty to one count of violating 18 U.S.C. 203, and the Government dropped its charge of making false statements to the Government and failure to report the receipt of the unauthorized compensation on his annual financial disclosure form. The employee was sentenced to a one-year probation and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.
33Outside ActivitiesDeputy Secretary of Commerce Improperly Contacts Official at Department of Veterans Affairs -Violation of 18 U.S.C. 205The Deputy Secretary of Commerce received from his father‑in‑law, the owner of a company doing business with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a letter complaining of delays experienced by the company in modifying its contract with the VA. The Deputy Secretary referred the letter to his counterpart at the VA on behalf of his father‑in‑law, and also contacted the VA by telephone.A complaint for civil penalties was filed for a violation of 18 U.S.C The Deputy Secretary agreed to a civil settlement, including a $5,000 fine.
34Outside Activities Criminal Statutes That Restrict Outside Activities: 18 U.S.C. 209, Dual CompensationProhibits employees from receiving any salary or contribution to or supplementation of salary from any source other than the United States as compensation for services as a Government Employee.Keep this in mind when teaching, speaking, and writing. You cannot be paid by third parties for speaking about matters that relate to your official position. 5 C.F.RSeek ethics advice, and ensure before releasing information, you have obtained a review from public affairs and security per DoD Instruction
35“What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!” Outside Activities“What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!”Information You Cannot Share:18 U.S.C. 1905, Disclosure of Confidential InfoProhibits employees from disclosing trade secrets or confidential information. Violations may result in fine, imprisonment of not more than one year, or both, and removal from office.41 U.S.C. 2102, Disclosure of Procurement InfoProhibits employees from knowingly disclosing contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of a Federal agency procurement contract. Violations may result in fine, imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.
36Outside ActivitiesSelling State Secrets is NOT an Authorized Outside Activity:18 U.S.C. 641, penalizes improper use of records18 U.S.C. 793, penalizes disclosure of certain national defense information18 U.S.C. 794, penalizes the delivery of defense information to aid a foreign government50 U.S.C. 783, penalizes improper communication of classified information
37Outside ActivitiesJill is considering outside employment during furlough.Can you help her avoid ethical failure?
38Outside ActivitiesJill has a great opportunity to sell cosmetics and sets out to beautify the world!Is there a problem?
39Outside ActivitiesNo!The cosmetic company she plans to work for does not do business with, seek to do business with, or seek any official action from her DHRA organization. As such, the cosmetic company is not a prohibited source, and there is no conflict of interest.RULE: An executive branch employee may not engage in outside employment or any other outside activity that conflicts with the employee’s official duties. 18 U.S.C. 208; 5 C.F.RPublic Service Announcement: If this had been a prohibited source, Jill, as a Confidential Financial Disclosure, OGE 450, filer would have been required to seek written approval from her supervisor. 5 C.F.R
40Outside Activities Oh My… We have a problem… Jill is so enthusiastic about beautifying the world that she expands her business beyond furlough days and has set up a cosmetic display and makeup application center next to her cubicle.Oh My… We have a problem…
41Outside Activities Limitation on solicited sales. 5 C.F.R. 3601.106 Jill is prohibited from soliciting to DoD personnel who are junior in rank, grade or position, or to family members of such personnel, on or off duty.Use of Government property and official time. 5 C.F.R and 705Jill cannot use Government property, including office space, equipment, and time for unauthorized purposes.
42Outside ActivitiesJill would really like to beautify her boss. She has a lovely cosmetic make over kit valued at $50 that she plans give her boss as a birthday present.Is Jill about to violate the Standards of Conduct?
43Outside ActivitiesYes! Jill may not give her boss a gift valued at $50 for her birthday.General Rule: Employees may not directly or indirectly give a gift or make a donation toward a gift for an official superior, or solicit a contribution from another employee for a gift to either his own or the other employee’s official superior.Exceptions: For traditional gift giving occasions, such as a birthday, Jill may give her boss a gift valued at $10 or less, but no cash.
44Outside ActivitiesIt’s always a good idea to seek ethics advice before engaging in outside activitiesMoving on to a topic that has been of great concern within DHRA during the past year:CONFERENCES!
45CONFERENCESIn a report dated Sept. 2012, Dept. of VA, Inspector General found that VA spent a whopping $6.1M on two conferences in Orlando, FL.11 VA employees responsible for conference planning improperly accepted gifts from contractors doing business with or seeking to do business with VASenior leadership abdicated responsibility to ensure fiscal stewardshipWasteful spending on audiovisual aids, food, beveragesUnnecessary site survey tripsFor more detail:The New Landscape
46New Conference Approval Policies! CONFERENCESNew Conference Approval Policies!Source Documents:Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, “Implementation of Conference Oversight Requirements and Delegation of Conference Approval Authority, September 29, 2012DCMO Memorandum, “Delegation of Conference Approval Authority,” October 16, 2012USD(P&R) Memorandum, “Designation of Individuals for Approval Authority of Conferences,” [ on or about January 11, 2013].
47CONFERENCESWhen DHRA or DHRA Component is hosting a conference and the estimated dollar value is:$0 to $100,000 – DHRA Director must approve$100,001 to $500,000 – USD(P&R) must approveOver $500,000 – Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) must approveWhen DHRA or DHRA component employee(s) is attending a non-DoD entity conference and the cost of attendance is:$0 to $20,000 – DHRA Director must approveOver $20,000 – DCMO must approveEXCEPTION: Even if the dollar value of a DHRA hosted conference is at or below $100,000, approval authority is DCMO if the conference involves a co-sponsorship agreement, a no-cost conference planning contract, or other similar arrangement such as an MOU with a non-federal entity, and/or a request for approval of spousal travel
48CONFERENCES Conference Defined at DepSecDef Sept. 29, 2012 Memorandum: A conference is defined in the Travel Regulations as, “[a] meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, or event that involves attendee travel. The term ‘conference’ also applies to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 C.F.R ” DepSecDef Memo explains that this definition is only a starting point. What constitutes a conference is a fact-based determination.A conference may be disguised under other names:ConventionsExpositionsSymposiumsSeminarsWorkshopsExhibitionsA conference may have a registration, fee, published substantive agenda, speakers, or discussion panels.
49CONFERENCES FISCAL STEWARDSHIP Ensure appropriate management oversight of the conference planning process;Perform cost comparisons of the size, scope, and location;Determine if a Government facility is available at a lesser rate;Consider alternatives to a conference, e.g., teleconferencing, consolidating the event with another event;Maintain written documentation of the alternatives considered and the selection rationale used;Maintain written documentation, to include at least three quotes, of the costs of each conference site considered;Use the CAPE tool as required by the December 27, 2010, Secretary of Defense, “Consideration of Costs in DoD Decision Making” memorandum.
50CONFERENCES LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! WHS Approves Conference Space in the National Capital RegionConsider Direct and Indirect Costs:Travel and per diem expenses;Rent of room for official business;Costs for audiovisual and other equipment;Computer and telephone access fees;Light refreshments or meals;Printing costs;Registration fees and administrative costs;Ground transportation; andAttendees’ travel time and costs.Congress scrutinizes Federal participation at conferences. Extreme examples where Congress has criticized include sending 236 employees to Barcelona, Spain and 1,000 employees to Orlando, FL. Also criticized was the frequent use of lavish locales including Palm Springs, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. Oh my…
51CONFERENCES FOOD (DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!) ALWAYS SEEK LEGAL ADVICE! General Rule:Appropriations may not be used to purchase foodNever use appropriations to purchase food for routine business meetingsRemember: The contractor cannot do what the Government cannot do. If the Government cannot use its appropriations to purchase food, we cannot have the contractor purchase food under its contract on our behalf
52CONFERENCESFOODLimited Exception to use appropriations for food at a formal conferenceAppropriations for food expenses are only permitted for formal conferences that are related to the purpose for which an agency was established, or the purpose for which an agency’s appropriation was made.Is the food purchase necessary?The meal or refreshment must be incidental to the meeting;Attendance at the meal is necessary for full participation in the business of the meeting, and;Partaking of meals or refreshment elsewhere would require attendee to be absent from essential formal parts of the conference.
53CONFERENCES MEMENTOS (GIFTS or GIVE AWAYS) General Rule: Appropriated funds may not be used to purchase promotional itemsYou must have statutory authority to promote a messageThe purchase of the promotional item must be a “necessary expense.”Example:The GAO found that the General Services Administration (GSA) could not purchase buttons demonstrating GSA’s commitment to an energy alternative program for distribution at GSA displays at conferences. The buttons were not a necessary expense to further GSA programs, as there was no direct connection with, and not essential to, the carrying out of the GSA purposes for which the funds were appropriated. B , 1978 WL (Comp. Gen. Aug. 21, 1978).
54CONFERENCES MEMENTOS (GIFTS or GIVE AWAYS) SEEK LEGAL ADVICE Examples where mementos were authorized:Sexual Assault & Prevention Office (SAPRO) purchase of banners promoting the DoD Safe Helpline.Statutory Authority to promote at Public Law , sec. 577Banner deemed a necessary expense, and not excessiveThe GAO found that it was a necessary and proper use of funds for the National Park Service to purchase and distribute samples of lava rocks to visitors of the Capulin Mountain National Monument because it was determined to be an effective tool in preserving the monument by discouraging visitors from removing lava rock. B , 1979 WL (Comp. Gen.).
55CONFERENCES Gifts Involving Travel Expenses, 31 U.S.C. 1353 DoD has authority to accept gifts of travel expenses (accommodations, airfare, and meals) of its employees when they are performing official duties at meetings, conferences, or similar events, but only under certain circumstances.Advance approval is required. See GC.Never solicit the gift of free travelGifts in-kind (i.e. gift giver pays hotel bill directly); You and DHRA are PROHIBITED from accepting a check from the gift giver - checks go directly to U.S. TreasuryExpenses over $250 must be reported.55
56CONFERENCES SPEAKING ABOUT GIFTS… Remember the general rule: An employee shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit or accept a gift:From a prohibited source; orGiven because of the employee’s official positionException:Gifts of $20 or Less: An employee may accept unsolicited gifts having an aggregate market value of $20 or less per source per occasion, provided that the aggregate market value of individual gifts received from any one source shall not exceed $50 in a calendar year.56
57CONFERENCESHere is where the gift rule comes into play during conferences…Joe receives approval to attend a few conferences:In February, Joe accepts a promotional item from Company Z, a contractor doing business with Joe’s organization. The value is $19.In April, Joe accepts another promotional item from Company Z. The value is also $19.In September, Joe accepts his final promotional item from Company Z. The value is $19.$19+$19+$19 = $57Joe violated the ethics rules because he accepted more than $50 from one source, Company Z, in a calendar year.57
58CONFERENCESProviding Logistical Support To Non-federal Entity (NFE) Sponsored ConferencesDHRA and Components may provide speakers or allow use of DoD facilities and equipment (and DoD employees to operate it) for a NFE eventbut not for fundraising or membership driveswhen the Component Director makes certain determinations as prescribed in the DoD Joint Ethics Regulation (JER), DoD R, paragraph
59NO ENDORSEMENTS OF NON-FEDERAL ENTITIES CONFERENCESNO ENDORSEMENTS OF NON-FEDERAL ENTITIESFederal Employees may not:Endorse the NFE, use or allow an NFE to use, his/her official title, position or DHRA/DoD name in connection with the NFE event (e.g., NFE may not include the DHRA logo on its website, letterhead, promotional materials, etc.) 5 CFR § (c) & JER 3-300a(1)Encourage, pressure or coerce other personnel, especially subordinates, to join, support or otherwise participate in outside organizations. 5 CFR § (a)
60One Final Word on Conferences With sequestration and employees on furlough throughout the Government, consider appearances when seeking approval to attend a conference.Ask yourself whether the conference is really that important to the DoD mission…
61OTHER STUFF Post Government Employment: In general, the post-Government employment laws at 18 U.S.C. 207 place restrictions on the ability of former Federal personnel to “represent” someone before the Government for some period of time after departure. There are different kinds of “Representation Bans.” Seek ethics advice to learn how the bans will apply to your specific situation.In addition, the Procurement Integrity Act prohibits certain former Federal personnel from being paid by the awardee of a contract in excess of $10M.Seek ethics advice before you start seeking post Government employment to ensure you understand the rules, and implement any applicable disqualification notices.61
62OTHER STUFF Duty to Report Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Ethics Violations To your supervisor;Ethics Counselor, orAnonymous Reporting through:DoD Inspector General Hotline, (800)U.S. Office of Special Counsel, (202) ,
63Complete & Send Certificate ConclusionCongratulations!Your 2013 Annual Ethics Training is Complete. Thank You for Your Compliance with U.S. Government Ethics RequirementsTo Receive Credit for this Training, you must click the “Complete & Send Certificate” Button BelowNote: By submitting you are certifying that you personally completed the entire training module.Once you click on the button below, the certificate will open in your browser. Please close this presentation to view and complete the certificate.Complete & Send Certificate