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SOCO has received several inquiries regarding the interpretation of section 3-211(a) of DoD 5500.7-R, the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER). This section of the JER addresses DoD support of non-Federal entity events. Specifically, SOCO was asked to clarify who is authorized to approve whether DoD personnel may speak at outside events. The JER refers to the approval authority as the head of the DoD Component Command or Organization. For purposes of 3-211(a) only, the head of an Organization is the first supervisor who is a commissioned military officer or a civilian above GS/GM 11 or equivalent in the chain of command or supervision of the DoD employee concerned. Consultation should be done with the local ethics counselor.
Full-time civilian political appointees may not accept gifts from registered lobbyists or lobbying organizations. For purposes of the lobbyist gift ban, "gifts" are most items of value; examples are free attendance at dinners and other meals, receptions, sporting events, and similar widely attended gatherings. The latest guidance is available here.
An updated version of the Ethics Counselor's Deskbook is now posted on the SOCO website here.
2010 Financial Disclosure Season. Ethics counselors or program managers should be completing their review or verification of annual/incumbent financial disclosure lists in preparation to notify them of the upcoming financial disclosure requirement. 2010 Annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Reports are due no earlier than January 1, 2010, and no later than February 15, 2010. Incumbent Public Financial Disclosure Reports are due no earlier than January 1, 2010, and no later than May 15, 2010.
Designated Agency Ethics Officials should be in receipt of OGE Annual Questionnaire for calendar year 2009, and gathering responses from their subordinate ethics organizations. Deadline for responses is around January 29, 2010.
Only 3 weeks remaining before December 31, 2009, the deadline for all financial disclosure filers to receive their 2009 Annual Ethics Training.
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.