The Office of Government Ethics has proposed changes to the two financial disclosure forms required of federal employees, the Form 450 for confidential disclosure forms and the Form 278 for public disclosures.
Of the two, far more federal employees file the former, which are reviewed for potential conflicts of interests by the agency ethics office and maintained confidentially. The latter applies mostly to senior officials including political appointees.
For the Form 450, the proposed rules would: change the reporting periods for each part completed by new entrants; change the income disclosure threshold to $1,000 of received income; eliminate the disclosure of diversified funds held within an employee benefit plan; clarify that the disclosure requirement for agreements and arrangements includes those with a current employer; eliminate the disclosure of continued participation in a defined contribution plan to which an employer is no longer making contributions; and combine gifts and travel reimbursement into a single category for purposes of applying the disclosure thresholds.
For the Form 278, the proposed rules would: revise the reporting period for termination reports to include the entire preceding calendar year if a required annual report has not been filed; revise the income disclosure requirement to include only received income; revise the “widely diversified” criterion for purposes of determining whether a fund qualifies as an “excepted investment fund;” clarify definitions; clarify when a source of compensation need not be disclosed and the method for disclosing the existence of such sources; and eliminate the disclosure of transactions that occurred before the reporting individual became subject to the public financial disclosure requirements.
The two sets of rules are open for comment until September 10.