In an unusual message to federal employees, the Office of Government Ethics has called attention to the importance of maintaining the principles of public service in what it called “perilous” times of much distrust of government. The message in its entirety:
“When we become public servants—custodians of the people’s government—we take an oath. We take an oath to faithfully perform our duties, an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The success of our Constitution, the success of our government, depends on the trust of the people that we serve. Today, our fellow citizens are suspicious of their government. A recent Transparency International report found that a clear majority of the American people think that corruption is getting worse.
“Fortunately, we know how to rebuild the public’s trust. We build their trust by doing our jobs, faithfully. We build their trust by acting solely for the public good and eliminating conflicts of interests. We build their trust by telling the truth.
“The good news is that most of you are carrying out the people’s business with honor and integrity. You’re keeping your oath. Thank you. Remember what is at stake and take pride in your service. On the other hand, those who are doing things that undermine the public’s trust, even if they don’t violate a rule, need to stop. Nothing you could gain economically or politically could possibly justify putting our democracy at risk. These are perilous times. So, keep your oath and earn the public’s trust. We, as public servants, hold our positions of trust ‘for such a time as this.’”