Ethics Counselors Toolbox.  The Toolbox is intended to provide additional resources for DoD Ethics Counselors. In it, you will find the relevant Deskbook chapter, training presentations, and other materials, such as white papers, templates, forms, and worksheets. Note: In using these tools for your own program, please ensure that you replace any references to SOCO with your ethics office contact information.



Relations with non-Federal entities (NFEs) are governed by a complex set of rules and regulations.  The following general principles and references are provided for your information and use.  Different rules and principles apply depending on whether your participation with the NFE will be in your official or personal capacity.  Consulting with your local ethics office concerning application of the applicable rules affecting relations with NFEs is highly encouraged. 

General Principles:

  • Personnel shall not use Government property for other than authorized purposes. (You must use Government time and resources only to accomplish the official mission. (5 C.F.R. 2635.101(b)(9))
  • Personnel shall not use public office for private gain of themselves, their affiliated private organizations, or any non-Federal entity. (5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b)(7))
  • Personnel shall not give preferential treatment to or otherwise favor in their official capacity any private organization or individual. (5 C.F.R. § 2635.101(b)(8))
  • Personnel shall not participate in official matters that conflict with personal interests (including those imputed to them because of their personal work with a non-Federal entity). (5 C.F.R. 2635.402 and 2635.502)
Outside Activities/Employment:

DoD personnel may engage in outside employment or be self-employed outside the work place so long as there is no interference with their official duties.  Specifically, DoD employees may not engage in outside activities are prohibited by statute or regulation, or would require the employee's disqualification from matters so central to the performance of the employee's official duties as to materially impair the employee's ability to carry out those duties.

Security and Agency Specific Requirements: Agencies may require employees to seek approval for outside employment and may prohibit such activities if they will detract from readiness or pose a security risk.  Check with your local ethics official.

Financial Disclosure Filers: All financial disclosure filers must obtain prior written approval from their supervisor before working for a prohibited source.  Permission shall be granted unless the outside activity involves conduct prohibited by statute or regulation.

No representing to the Federal Government.  (Note - these are criminal provisions): DoD employees may not act as agent or attorney for anyone before any agency of the Government on any matter in which the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. See 18 U.S.C. § 205.  DoD employees may not receive compensation for representational services rendered either personally or by another.  See 18 U.S.C. § 203.  

Check with local ethics official about other possible concerns in outside activities including improper use of nonpublic information, prohibited solicited sales to junior personnel, misuse of position title, restrictions on receiving income from foreign governments, and fundraising restrictions in the Federal workplace.