The Standards of Conduct Office is pleased to announce that our annual on-line ethics training is now available on the SOCO web site at: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/ (link inactive). When you get to the site, on the left-hand side, you will see "2006 On-Line Ethics Training." This year, all DoD personnel who file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (SF 278) or a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450) must complete annual ethics training. (DoD Directive 5500.7-R, the "Joint Ethics Regulation," 11-301(a) as to public filers and 11-301(b)(3) as to confidential filers.) As long as a qualified instructor is available when personnel take the computer based training, such training satisfies the annual requirement. 5 C.F.R. 2638.704(c)(1) and 5 C.F.R. 2638.705(c)(1).
As most of you are aware, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) changed the filing period for the OGE Form 450 to a calendar year (ending December 31, 2006). This change alters much of the procedural guidance in the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER). To clarify application of the new procedure, the DoD General Counsel issued a memorandum describing the effect of the superseding regulations on the JER. Our office produced a summary of the new procedures in a "page-by-page" format suitable for inserting in your JER along with expanded practical guidance on running the Confidential Financial Disclosure Program during the transition.
The SOCO web site, at http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/ (link inactive), under the "Ethics Resource Library", "Forms," "OGE Form 450," has the General Counsel's memorandum, its enclosure listing the OGE regulations and superseded JER sections, the page-by-page listing of affected JER sections, and the program guidance.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), in a release dated August 15, 2006, settled a complaint for disciplinary action against VA employee Eric Foster who distributed campaign stickers for supporting Senator John Kerry for President in 2004 at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. OSC found that the Federal employee was participating in a partisan political activity on Federal property thereby violating the Hatch Act. As part of the settlement, Mr. Foster agreed to retire from his position no later than September 5, 2006. The press release can be found here.
Informal digests of the Office of Government Ethics opinions issued in 2005 are now available on the SOCO web site in the "Ethics Resource Library" under "Digest of OGE opinions." The digests assist in finding topical OGE opinions such as post employment.
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.