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On May 26, 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President's nomination of Robert I. Cusick as the new Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). Mr. Cusick has had a long and distinguished career as a partner in the Kentucky law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs, and has been active in legal and public officer ethics. He is a graduate of the Brandeis School of Law of the University of Louisville. He served on active duty as a Navy JAG officer and retired as a Captain in the reserve in 1998. Mr. Cusick is the sixth confirmed Director of OGE.
There is at least one professional trainer who believes so! In a "how-to" contracting class (Federal Sales 101: Winning Government Business) intended for people who wish to conduct business with the Government, the instructor boldly provides some very interesting advice. The instruction advocates practices that should not work at ethically sound offices. Suggestions taught include:
Don't bother bidding on requests for proposals if you first hear about them after they become public, the instructor says if a government employee didn't call you the night before to tell you the request was going to be posted, then it's too late to win the contract, the agency already has a vendor in mind.
For these suggestions to have merit, Government employees have to be ignoring the fourteen basic obligations set out in Executive Order 12674, the Code of Federal Regulations, and DoD's Joint Ethics Regulation. Don't be an office that plays this instructor's "game."
The bribery statute applies to contractor employees just as it does to Government personnel. A contractor employee was a supply technician whose job was to complete requisition and invoice shipping documents to facilitate the award of Government freight transportation contracts to freight forwarding companies. The contractor employee accepted from a sales representative of a local freight forwarding company, items the valued at approximately $10,000. These included lunches and dinners, concert tickets, NASCAR tickets, weekend accommodations, spa days, alcoholic beverages, and various clothing and jewelry items. The contractor employee pled guilty to conspiracy to receive illegal gratuities (in violation of 18 USC §§ 201 and 371).
OGE has published its final rule amending the regulation governing confidential financial disclosure (5 CFR part 2634). The final rule takes effect on 1 January 2007. Under the new rule, the reporting period will be the calendar year with the filing deadline changed to 15 February. A new OGE form 450 will be available later this year for confidential financial disclosure filers. OGE has not announced a transition period to the new form. The new form will be simpler and easier for the filer to understand. In the interim, OGE extended this year's filing requirement to include a fifteen month period from October 2005 - 31 December 2006. The requirement to train filers each calendar year remains unchanged.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this advisory is to disseminate relevant information and sources of general guidance, policy and law on Government Ethics issues to the Department of Defense ethics community. Advisories are not intended to be and should not be cited as authoritative guidance, DoD policy, or law.