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The 2007 DoD Ethics Counselor Deskbook is now available here. This year's deskbook includes updates in regulations and practices as well as a new format which indicates the revision date of each page. As significant changes in statutes, policies, regulations, and practices occur, we will update the deskbook and alert the ethics community. The table of contents of the 2007 deskbook now includes chapter summaries that identify the major topics covered in each chapter. Major changes include:
Gift Chapter: We recommend that you review Section IV.B.3.a., Foreign Gifts, which discusses a discrepancy between the JER and DoDD 1005.13 dealing with aggregation of gifts. Bottom line: Follow DoDD 1005.13.
Also, Section VIII.E. mentions that a FMR, Volume 12, Chapter 3, is about to be published containing the regs to be followed and delegations for accepting gifts to DoD on behalf of wounded, ill, or injured members on active duty. OGC coordinated on May 23, 2007, so they should be out shortly.
NFE Chapter: We recommend looking at Section IV, Representing DoD To, or Serving With, NFEs. It lays out in one place the restrictions applicable to both official and personal capacity participation. It is a good source to help with analysis and recommendation.
We recommend carefully reviewing Section IX. See Subsection A for ethical restrictions applicable to use of the new fee collection authority for DoD conferences. This is the first time SOCO has published this information for use throughout DoD. The subsection addresses attendance and exhibitor fees, practices to avoid, and what constitutes conference costs. If a client is considering hosting a conference, DoD ethics counselors need to be able to advise regarding hosting our own conference and charging a fee; co-managing (sponsoring) a conference with another entity (subsection B); or supporting a conference sponsored by an NFE (subsection D). This subsection also includes issues of endorsement, use of seals, restricted or special access to DoD officials, and DoD's acquiring of sponsorships or exhibitor booths. For speaker support that DoD may provide to training conferences, see the Chapter on Participating in Conferences Sponsored by NFEs.
See Section X, which contains new material on NFE use of DoD personnel and resources for commercial, advertising, or promotional purposes.
Fundraising Chapter: This has been re-organized, with Section V addressing fundraising activities directed toward Government personnel, whether or not on the Federal Government workplace. This includes the CFC, OPM-approved emergencies, in-kind gifts, and organizations of Federal personnel. Section VI addresses fundraising events directed to the public (including those sponsored by organizations of Federal personnel), and what support DoD may provide. VI.B. analyzes the interaction between 5 CFR 2635.808, the JER, and the ComRel Directive, 5410.18.
Subsection 9-502 of the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER) requires DoD components to provide guidance on the relevant post-employment restrictions to personnel who are leaving Federal service as part of the component's out-processing procedures. What restrictions are considered "relevant" depend upon the grade and duties of the departing personnel. For example, there are few restrictions for enlisted personnel, but substantial limitations on personnel involved in procurement or senior officers and civilians.
It is expected that the legal office will determine what guidance particular departing personnel should receive. It is recommended that out-processing procedures include a check-out with the legal office. However, in cases where this is unnecessary, the component legal advisor may delegate the distribution of appropriate guidance to others in the out-processing process, assuming that the legal advisor maintains sufficient oversight to ensure that all personnel receive relevant guidance.
We have published appropriate guidance at: Handouts.
The new directive was updated on February 2, 2007, and establishes broad policy for the operation of non-Federal entities that are authorized to operate on DoD installations. Because it is not currently published in the DoD directives website, we have temporarily included it here.
In DAEOGRAM DO-07-015, OGE clarified that Federal employees who write and submit letters to the Federal Government in support of an alien applying for a change in immigration status do not ordinarily violate 18 U.S.C. 205. A Federal employee is not generally considered the agent of the alien for purposes of section 205 when drafting and submitting such support letters. The opinion emphasizes that there must be the exercise of some control by the principal over the agent for the statute to apply.
If, however, the alien exerts control over the employee in drafting and submitting the letter, e.g., controlling the content of the letter, the employee would be considered the alien's agent for that purpose and would violate 18 U.S.C. 205. OGE also noted that even where writing such a letter would not be in violation of 18 U.S.C. 205, the employee must still consider and apply the provisions of 5 CFR 2635.702(b) governing appearance of governmental sanction or endorsement, e.g., use of official title and letterhead.
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.