The two ethics-related topics that federal employees most frequently seek guidance on are gift acceptance and financial disclosures, the Office of Government Ethics has said; the next most frequently raised topics are outside employment and activities, post-employment restrictions, and requirements for impartiality in performing official duties.
Nearly 6,900 employees support the employee ethics program across the government although most of them spend less than half their time on ethics issues and more than a third say they need more resources including staff and IT support, according to an OGE report. About a fifth use contractors for support, mostly for clerical assistance or to support the financial disclosure system.
The report reflects the latest annual survey of designated agency ethics officials and their assistants, about nine-tenths of whom are career employees—although slightly more than half have less than four years of experience in their position. Their duties include advice and counseling; the confidential financial disclosure program; education and training; and the public financial disclosure program.
It said that virtually all newly hired employees receive an ethics orientation, mainly as one-on-one briefings and written materials, and that virtually all public and confidential financial disclosure filers receive annual ethics training, including classroom and one-on-one briefings.