A new report from the Office of Government Ethics serves as a reminder that violations of federal employee ethics laws can result in criminal charges in some situations, although such cases represent only a small minority of ethics-related personnel actions.
The report shows 13 such prosecutions in 2019 involving charges of bribery, false statements, conflict of interest, conspiracy, violations of post-employment restrictions, and more. Results ranged from settlements to jury findings against those charged and penalties ranged from fines to imprisonment.
“There are also administrative penalties for less severe violations of ethics rules and regulations. These actions range from corrective training to termination,” OGE said in an online posting.
It said that for the year, 38 agencies reported taking just above 1,000 disciplinary actions based wholly or in part on alleged violations of the standards of conduct, 57 percent of which actions involved misuse of position.
Also, 15 agencies reported taking 24 disciplinary actions based wholly or in part on alleged violations of criminal or civil statutes, 46 percent of which involved law prohibiting taking official action that can affect a personal interest, and 28 agencies made a total of 62 referrals to the Justice Department for potential violations of criminal conflict of interest statutes.