U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Nov 16, 2019

§ 2634.601 - Report forms.

(a) This section prescribes the required forms for financial disclosure made pursuant to this part.

(1) New entrant, annual, and termination public financial disclosure reports. The Office of Government Ethics provides a form for publicly disclosing the information described in subpart B of this part in connection with new entrant, nominee, incumbent, and termination reports filed pursuant to § 2634.201(a) through (e). That form is the OGE Form 278e (Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report) or any successor form.

(2) Periodic transaction public financial disclosure reports. The Office of Government Ethics provides a form for publicly disclosing the information described in subpart B of this part in connection with periodic transaction public financial disclosure reports filed pursuant to § 2634.201(f). That form is the OGE Form 278-T (Periodic Transaction Report), or any successor form.

(3) Confidential financial disclosure reports. The Office of Government Ethics also provides a form for confidentially disclosing information described in subpart I of this part in connection with confidential financial disclosure reports filed pursuant to § 2634.903. That form is the OGE Form 450 (Confidential Financial Disclosure Report), or any successor form.

(b) Supplies of the OGE Form 278e, OGE Form 278-T, and OGE Form 450 are to be reproduced locally by each agency. The Office of Government Ethics has published copies on its official website.

(c) Subject to the prior written approval of the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, an agency may require employees to file additional confidential financial disclosure forms which supplement the standard form referred to in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, if necessary because of special or unique agency circumstances. The Director may approve such agency forms when, in his opinion, the supplementation is shown to be necessary for a comprehensive and effective agency ethics program to identify and resolve conflicts of interest. See §§ 2634.103 and 2634.901.

(d) The information collection and recordkeeping requirements have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 3209-0001 for the OGE Form 278e, and control number 3209-0006 for OGE Form 450. OGE Form 278-T has been determined not to require an OMB paperwork control number, as the form is used exclusively by current Government employees.

§ 2634.602 - Filing of reports.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the reporting individual will file financial disclosure reports required under this part with the designated agency ethics official or the delegate at the agency where the individual is employed, or was employed immediately prior to termination of employment, or in which the individual will serve, unless otherwise directed by the employee's home agency. Detailees will file with their home agency. Reports are due at the times indicated in § 2634.201 (public disclosure) or § 2634.903 (confidential disclosure), unless an extension is granted pursuant to the provisions of subparts B or I of this part. Filers must certify that the information contained in the report is true, correct, and complete to their best knowledge.

(b) The President, the Vice President, any independent counsel, and persons appointed by independent counsel under 28 U.S.C. chapter 40, will file the public financial disclosure reports required under this part with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

(c)(1) Each agency receiving the public financial disclosure reports required to be filed under this part by the following individuals must transmit copies to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics:

(i) The Postmaster General;

(ii) The Deputy Postmaster General;

(iii) The Governors of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service;

(iv) The designated agency ethics official;

(v) Employees of the Executive Office of the President who are appointed under 3 U.S.C. 105(a)(2)(A) or (B) or 3 U.S.C. 107(a)(1)(A) or (b)(1)(A)(i), and employees of the Office of Vice President who are appointed under 3 U.S.C. 106(a)(1)(A) or (B); and

(vi) Officers and employees in, and nominees to, offices or positions which require confirmation by the Senate, other than members of the uniformed services.

(2) Prior to transmitting a copy of a report to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, the designated agency ethics official or the delegate must review that report in accordance with § 2634.605, except for the designated agency ethics official's own report, which must be reviewed by the agency head or by a delegate of the agency head.

(3) For nominee reports, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics must forward a copy to the Senate committee that is considering the nomination. See § 2634.605(c) for special procedures regarding the review of such reports.

(d) The Director of the Office of Government Ethics must file the Director's financial disclosure report with the Office of Government Ethics, which will make it immediately available to the public in accordance with this part.

(e) Candidates for President and Vice President identified in § 2634.201(d), other than an incumbent President or Vice President, must file their financial disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission, which will review and send copies of such reports to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

(f) Members of the uniformed services identified in § 2634.202(c) must file their financial disclosure reports with the Secretary concerned, or the Secretary's delegate.

§ 2634.603 - Custody of and access to public reports.

(a) Each agency must make available to the public in accordance with the provisions of this section those public reports filed with the agency by reporting individuals described under subpart B of this part.

(b) This section does not require public availability of those reports filed by:

(1) Any individual in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency, or any individual engaged in intelligence activities in any agency of the United States, if the President finds or has found that, due to the nature of the office or position occupied by that individual, public disclosure of the report would, by revealing the identity of the individual or other sensitive information, compromise the national interest of the United States. Individuals referred to in this paragraph who are exempt from the public availability requirement may also be authorized, notwithstanding § 2634.701, to file any additional reports necessary to protect their identity from public disclosure, if the President finds or has found that such filings are necessary in the national interest; or

(2) An independent counsel whose identity has not been disclosed by the Court under 28 U.S.C chapter 40, or any person appointed by that independent counsel under such chapter.

(c) Each agency will, within 30 days after any public report is received by the agency, permit inspection of the report by, or furnish a copy of the report to, any person who makes written application as provided by agency procedure. Agency reviewing officials and the support staffs who maintain the files, the staff of the Office of Government Ethics, and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who are conducting a criminal inquiry into possible conflict of interest violations need not submit an application. The agency may utilize Office of Government Ethics Form 201 for such applications. An application must state:

(1) The requesting person's name, occupation, and address;

(2) The name and address of any other person or organization on whose behalf the inspection or copy is requested; and

(3) That the requesting person is aware of the prohibitions on obtaining or using the report set forth in paragraph (f) of this section.

(d) Applications for the inspection of or copies of public reports will also be made available to the public throughout the period during which the report itself is made available, utilizing the procedures in paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) The agency may require a reasonable fee, established by agency regulation, to recover the direct cost of reproduction or mailing of a public report, excluding the salary of any employee involved. A copy of the report may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest. The criteria used by an agency to determine when a fee will be reduced or waived will be established by regulation. Agency regulations contemplated by paragraph (e) of this section do not require approval pursuant to § 2634.103.

(f) It is unlawful for any person to obtain or use a public report:

(1) For any unlawful purpose;

(2) For any commercial purpose, other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public;

(3) For determining or establishing the credit rating of any individual; or

(4) For use, directly or indirectly, in the solicitation of money for any political, charitable, or other purpose.

Example 1:The deputy general counsel of Agency X is responsible for reviewing the public financial disclosure reports filed by persons within that agency. The agency personnel director, who does not exercise functions within the ethics program, wishes to review the disclosure report of an individual within the agency. The personnel director must file an application to review the report. However, the supervisor of an official with whom the deputy general counsel consults concerning matters arising in the review process need not file such an application. Example 2:A state law enforcement agent is conducting an investigation which involves the private financial dealings of an individual who has filed a public financial disclosure report. The agent must complete a written application in order to inspect or obtain a copy. Example 3:A financial institution has received an application for a loan from an official which indicates her present financial status. The official has filed a public financial disclosure statement with her agency. The financial institution cannot be given access to the disclosure form for purposes of verifying the information contained on the application.

(g)(1) Any public report filed with an agency or transmitted to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics under this section will be retained by the agency, and by the Office of Government Ethics when it receives a copy. The report will be made available to the public for a period of six years after receipt. After the six-year period, the report must be destroyed unless needed in an ongoing investigation, except that in the case of an individual who filed the report pursuant to § 2634.201(c) as a nominee and was not subsequently confirmed by the Senate, or who filed the report pursuant to § 2634.201(d) as a candidate and was not subsequently elected, the report, unless needed in an ongoing investigation, must be destroyed one year after the individual either is no longer under consideration by the Senate or is no longer a candidate for nomination or election to the Office of President or Vice President. See also the OGE/GOVT-1 Governmentwide executive branch Privacy Act system of records (available for inspection at the Office of Government Ethics or on OGE's website, www.oge.gov), as well as any applicable agency system of records.

(2) For purposes of paragraph (g)(1) of this section, in the case of a reporting individual with respect to whom a trust has been certified under subpart D of this part, a copy of the qualified trust agreement, the list of assets initially placed in the trust, and all other publicly available documents relating to the trust will be retained and made available to the public until the periods for retention of all other reports of the individual have lapsed under paragraph (g)(1) of this section.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 3209-0001 and 3209-0002)

§ 2634.604 - Custody of and denial of public access to confidential reports.

(a) Any report filed with an agency under subpart I of this part will be retained by the agency for a period of six years after receipt. After the six-year period, the report must be destroyed unless needed in an ongoing investigation. See also the OGE/GOVT-2 Governmentwide executive branch Privacy Act system of records (available for inspection at the Office of Government Ethics or on OGE's website, www.oge.gov), as well as any applicable agency system of records.

(b) The reports filed pursuant to subpart I of this part are confidential. No member of the public will have access to such reports, except pursuant to the order of a Federal court or as otherwise provided under the Privacy Act. See 5 U.S.C. 552a and the OGE/GOVT-2 Privacy Act system of records (and any applicable agency system); 5 U.S.C. app. (Ethics in Government Act of 1978, section 107(a)); sections 201(d) and 502(b) of Executive Order 12674, as modified by Executive Order 12731; and § 2634.901(d).

§ 2634.605 - Review of reports.

(a) In general. The designated agency ethics official will normally serve as the reviewing official for reports submitted to the official's agency. That responsibility may be delegated, except in the case of certification of nominee reports required by paragraph (c) of this section. See also § 2634.105(q). The designated agency ethics official will note on any report or supplemental report the date on which it is received. Except as indicated in paragraph (c) of this section, all reports must be reviewed within 60 days after the date of filing. Reports that are reviewed by the Director of the Office of Government Ethics must be forwarded promptly by the designated agency ethics official to the Director. The Director will review the reports within 60 days from the date on which they are received by the Office of Government Ethics. If additional information is needed, the Director will notify the agency. In the event that additional information must be obtained from the filer, the agency will require that the filer provide that information as promptly as is practical but not more than 30 days after the request. Final certification in accordance with paragraph (b)(3) of this section may, of necessity, occur later, when additional information is being sought or remedial action is being taken under this section.

(b) Responsibilities of reviewing official - (1) Initial review. As a part of the initial review, the reviewing official may request an intermediate review by the filer's supervisor or another reviewer. In the case of a filer who is detailed to another agency for more than 60 days during the reporting period, the reviewing official will coordinate with the ethics official at the agency at which the employee is serving the detail if the report reveals a potential conflict of interest.

(2) Standards of Review. The reviewing official must examine the report to determine, to the reviewing official's satisfaction, that:

(i) Each required part of the report is completed; and

(ii) No interest or position disclosed on the report violates or appears to violate:

(A) Any applicable provision of chapter 11 of title 18, United States Code;

(B) The Act, as amended, and the implementing regulations;

(C) Executive Order 12674, as modified by Executive Order 12731, and the implementing regulations;

(D) Any other applicable Executive Order in force at the time of the review; or

(E) Any other agency-specific statute or regulation which governs the filer.

(3) Signature by reviewing official. If the reviewing official is of the opinion that the report meets the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the reviewing official will certify it by signature and date. The reviewing official need not audit the report to ascertain whether the disclosures are correct. Disclosures will be taken at “face value” as correct, unless there is a patent omission or ambiguity or the official has independent knowledge of matters outside the report. However, a report which is signed by a reviewing official certifies that the filer's agency has reviewed the report, that the reviewing official is of the opinion that each required part of the report has been completed, and that on the basis of information contained in such report the filer is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations noted in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(4) Requests for, and review based on, additional information. If the reviewing official believes that additional information is required to be reported, the reviewing official will request that any additional information be submitted within 30 days from the date of the request, unless the reviewing official grants an extension in writing. This additional information will be incorporated into the report. If the reviewing official concludes, on the basis of the information disclosed in the report and any additional information submitted, that the report fulfills the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the reviewing official will sign and date the report.

(5) Compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If the reviewing official concludes that information disclosed in the report may reveal a violation of applicable laws and regulations as specified in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, the official must:

(i) Notify the filer of that conclusion;

(ii) Afford the filer a reasonable opportunity for an oral or written response; and

(iii) Determine, after considering any response, whether or not the filer is then in compliance with applicable laws and regulations specified in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section. If the reviewing official concludes that the report does fulfill the requirements, the reviewing official will sign and date the report. If the reviewing official determines that it does not and additional remedial actions are required, the reviewing official must:

(A) Notify the filer of the conclusion;

(B) Afford the filer an opportunity for personal consultation if practicable;

(C) Determine what remedial action under paragraph (b)(6) of this section should be taken to bring the report into compliance with the requirements of paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section; and

(D) Notify the filer in writing of the remedial action which is needed, and the date by which such action should be taken.

(6) Remedial action. (i) Except in unusual circumstances, which must be fully documented to the satisfaction of the reviewing official, remedial action must be completed not later than three months from the date on which the filer received notice that the action is required.

(ii) Remedial action may include, as appropriate:

(A) Divestiture of a conflicting interest (see subpart J of this part);

(B) Resignation from a position with a non-Federal business or other entity;

(C) Restitution;

(D) Establishment of a qualified blind or diversified trust under the Act and subpart D of this part;

(E) Procurement of a waiver under 18 U.S.C. 208(b)(1) or (b)(3);

(F) Recusal; or

(G) Voluntary request by the filer for transfer, reassignment, limitation of duties, or resignation.

(7) Compliance or referral. (i) If the filer complies with a written request for remedial action under paragraph (b)(6) of this section, the reviewing official will memorialize what remedial action has been taken. The official will also sign and date the report.

(ii) If the filer does not comply by the designated date with the written request for remedial action transmitted under paragraph (b)(6) of this section, the reviewing official must, in the case of a public filer under subpart B of this part, notify the head of the agency and the Office of Government Ethics for appropriate action. Where the filer is in a position in the executive branch (other than in the uniformed services or the Foreign Service), appointment to which requires the advice and consent of the Senate, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics shall refer the matter to the President. In the case of the Postmaster General or Deputy Postmaster General, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics shall recommend to the Governors of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service the action to be taken. For confidential filers, the reviewing official will follow agency procedures.

(c) Expedited procedure in the case of individuals appointed by the President and subject to confirmation by the Senate. In the case of a report filed by an individual described in § 2634.201(c) who is nominated by the President for appointment to a position that requires the advice and consent of the Senate:

(1) In most cases, the Executive Office of the President will furnish the applicable financial disclosure report form to the nominee. It will forward the completed report to the designated agency ethics official at the agency where the nominee is serving or will serve, or it may direct the nominee to file the completed report directly with the designated agency ethics official.

(2) The designated agency ethics official will complete an accelerated review of the report, in accordance with the standards and procedures in paragraph (b) of this section. If that official concludes that the report reveals no unresolved conflict of interest under applicable laws and regulations, the official will:

(i) Personally certify the report by signature, and date the certification;

(ii) Write an opinion letter to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, personally certifying that there is no unresolved conflict of interest under applicable laws and regulations;

(iii) Provide a copy of any commitment, agreement, or other undertaking which is reduced to writing in accordance with subpart H of this part; and

(iv) Transmit the letter and the report to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, within three working days after the designated agency ethics official receives the report.

Note to paragraph (c)(2):

The designated agency ethics official's certification responsibilities in § 2634.605(c) are nondelegable and must be accomplished by him personally, or by the agency's alternate designated agency ethics official, in his absence.

(3) The Director of the Office of Government Ethics will review the report and the letter from the designated agency ethics official. If the Director is satisfied that no unresolved conflicts of interest exist, then the Director will sign and date the report form. The Director will then submit the report with a letter to the appropriate Senate committee, expressing the Director's opinion whether, on the basis of information contained in the report, the nominee has complied with all applicable conflict laws and regulations.

(4) If, in the case of any nominee or class of nominees, the expedited procedure specified in this paragraph cannot be completed within the time set forth in paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this section, the designated agency ethics official must inform the Director. When necessary and appropriate, the Director may modify the rule of that paragraph for a nominee or a class of nominees with respect to a particular department or agency.

§ 2634.606 - Updated disclosure of advice-and-consent nominees.

(a) General rule. Each individual described in § 2634.201(c) who is nominated by the President for appointment to a position that requires advice and consent of the Senate must submit a letter updating the information in the report previously filed under § 2634.201(c) through the period ending no more than five days prior to the commencement of the first hearing of a Senate Committee considering the nomination to all Senate Committees considering the nomination. The letter must update the information required with respect to receipt of:

(1) Outside earned income; and

(2) Honoraria, as defined in § 2634.105(i).

(b) Timing. The nominee's letter must be submitted to the Senate committees considering the nomination by the agency at or before the commencement of the first committee hearing to consider the nomination. The agency must also transmit copies of the nominee's letter to the designated agency ethics official referred to in § 2634.605(c)(1) and to the Office of Government Ethics.

(c) Additional certification. In each case to which this section applies, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics will, at the request of the committee considering the nomination, submit to the committee an opinion letter of the nature described in § 2634.605(c)(3) concerning the updated disclosure. If the committee requests such a letter, the expedited procedure provided by § 2634.605(c) will govern review of the updated disclosure, which will be deemed a report filed for purposes of that paragraph.

§ 2634.607 - Advice and opinions.

To assist employees in avoiding situations in which they might violate applicable financial disclosure laws and regulations:

(a) The Director of the Office of Government Ethics will render formal advisory opinions and informal advisory letters on generally applicable matters, or on important matters of first impression. See also part 2638 of this chapter. The Director will ensure that these advisory opinions and letters are compiled, published, and made available to agency ethics officials and the public.

(b) Designated agency ethics officials will offer advice and guidance to employees as needed, to assist them in complying with the requirements of the Act and this part on financial disclosure.

(c) Employees who have questions about the application of this part or any supplemental agency regulations to particular situations should seek advice from an agency ethics official. Disciplinary action for violating this part will not be taken against an employee who has engaged in conduct in good faith reliance upon the advice of an agency ethics official, provided that the employee, in seeking such advice, has made full disclosure of all relevant circumstances. Where the employee's conduct violates a criminal statute, reliance on the advice of an agency ethics official cannot ensure that the employee will not be prosecuted under that statute. However, good faith reliance on the advice of an agency ethics official is a factor that may be taken into account by the Department of Justice in the selection of cases for prosecution. Disclosures made by an employee to an agency ethics official are not protected by an attorney-client privilege. An agency ethics official is required by 28 U.S.C. 535 to report any information he receives relating to a violation of the criminal code, title 18 of the United States Code.