Federal Conflict of Interest Statutes
Executive Order 12674, Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, and HHS' Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct contain rules and regulations which govern the ethical issues applicable to Government employees. These ethical standards were written to assure that Government employees conduct Government business effectively, objectively, and without improper influence. Employees should read these rules and ensure that they are in compliance with requirements. Special emphasis should be given to conflict of interest statutes.
There are five Federal conflict of interest statues of particular importance: 18 U.S.C. 203, 205, 207, 208, and 209. Others that are also relevant are 18 U.S.C. 1905 and 21 U.S.C. 331 (j).
18 U.S.C. 203 and 205. These statutes limit representational activity, paid or unpaid, by Federal employees before Federal agencies or courts. They bar an employee from representing another party before a Federal agency or court on any particular matter in which the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.
18 U.S.C. 207. This statute prohibits a former Federal employee from representing another person or entity back to the U.S. Government, with the intent to influence, on a particular matter involving specific parties, in which he/she was engaged as part of his/her official duties while with the government.
18 U.S.C. 208. This statute bars a Federal employee from participating personally and substantially as a Government employee in any particular matter in which the employee has a financial interest. These restrictions also apply regarding the interests of an employee's spouse; minor child; partner; organization in which he or she is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner or employee; and any person or organization with whom the employee is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment. The Office of Government Ethics has issued regulatory exemptions under 18 U.S.C. 208(b)(2) which can be found under 5 CFR 2640.
18 U.S.C. 209. This statute prohibits a Federal employee from receiving compensation from a source other than the United States Government for the performance of his or her official duties.
Use of Official Information Statutes
18 U.S.C. 1905. This statute prohibits a Federal employee from disclosing trade secrets and similar information which the employee obtains in the course of performing official duties or as a result of Government employment.
21 U.S.C. 331 (j). This statute prohibits a Federal employee from using to his/her own advantage or revealing (unless authorized) any information acquired under certain sections of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act concerning any method or process which, as a trade secret, is entitled to protection.