The Office of Government Ethics has issued guidance on the impact of the recently approved federal employee raise on certain ethics policies. The pay threshold is now $166,340 for post-employment restrictions applying to “senior employees”; the threshold is now $127,914 for the requirement to file public financial disclosure reports applying to certain persons not under the GS pay system; and the outside earned income limit is now $28,440 for certain senior noncareer employees.
Meanwhile, the OGE asked for input on the ethical implications of federal employees receiving support from legal defense funds. It said there currently is no policy on such funds in either law or regulation and that it has not specifically approved nor disapproved any such funds; it has limited its role to “providing guidance to help ensure that executive branch employees who may receive distributions from a legal expense fund will be in compliance with the ethics laws and rules if they accept such a distribution.”
However, it said that approach “does not fully address potential appearance concerns” of such funds and is soliciting input on issues such as whether there should be limits on who can donate to such funds and/or how much; what expenses the funds could be used to pay; whether there should be reporting requirements–and if so what should be reported and should the reports be made public–and whether there should be restrictions on how such funds are managed.
A Federal Register notice dated yesterday (April 15) contains instructions on how to provide such input.