The Ethics in Government Act of 1978, borne out of the Watergate scandal, established the Office of Government Ethics and the position of a Designated Agency Ethics Official in each executive branch agency.
The Act is intended to promote the integrity of public officials and institutions. To that end, the Act created mandatory public disclosure of certain designated public officials’ financial and employment history and restricted lobbying activities of public officials after leaving office.
According to CFR 5 § 2638.203, the Duties of the designated agency ethics official are:
(a) In general. The designated agency ethics official shall coordinate and manage the agency’s ethics program. The program consists generally of:
(1) Liaison with the Office of Government Ethics;
(2) Review of financial disclosure reports;
(3) Initiation and maintenance of ethics education and training programs; and
(4) Monitoring administrative actions and sanctions.
(Additional Background is below…)
In mid 2016, I began filing FOIA requests for memorandums issued from various agency DAEOs. Below, broken down by agency and date, you will find what I have come up with. As of November 4, 2016, I still have many open FOIA requests on this, so definitely watch this page for updates!
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) Memos – 01/01/15 – 12/16/16 [11 Pages, 0.8MB]
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) Memos – 01/01/16 – 08/30/16 [5 Pages, 1.7MB] – I have been looking for clarification on why only the announcement of the DTRA’s DAEO was received as responsive to this FOIA. To date, I have not yet heard a response for clarification.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) Memos – 01/01/15 – Circa 01/31/18 [164 Pages, 23MB]
United States Secret Service (USSS)
Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) Memos – 01/01/15 – Circa 09/17 [55 Pages, 3MB]
(…Continued from above)
(b) Program elements. In carrying out this program on behalf of the head of the agency, the designated agency ethics official shall ensure that:
(1) Close liaison with the Office of Government Ethics concerning the agency’s ethics program is developed and maintained;
(2) An effective system and procedure for the collection, filing, review, and, when applicable, public inspection of the financial disclosure reports as required by title II of the Act, Executive Order 11222, and other applicable statutes and regulations is developed and properly administered;
(3) The financial disclosure reports of Presidential nominees to agency positions submitted prior to Senate confirmation hearings pursuant to § 2634.605(c) of part 2634 are certified personally by him or herself or alternate designated agency ethics official in his or her absence;
(4) All financial disclosure reports submitted by employees and filed in bureaus and regional offices, as well as those submitted and filed at the agency’s headquarters, are properly maintained and effectively and consistently reviewed for conformance with all applicable laws and statutes;
(5) A list of those circumstances or situations which have resulted or may result in noncompliance with ethics laws and regulations is developed, maintained and published within the agency as required by § 206(b)(7) of the Act and made available for public inspection;
(6) An education program for agency employees concerning all ethics and standards of conduct matters is developed and conducted in accordance with subpart G, Executive Agency Ethics Training Programs, of this part.
(7) A counseling program for agency employees concerning all ethics and standards of conduct matters including post employment matters, is developed and conducted;
(8) Records are kept, when appropriate, on advice rendered;
(9) Prompt and effective action including administrative action is undertaken to remedy:
(i) Violations or potential violations, or appearances thereof, of the agency’s standards of conduct including post employment regulations;
(ii) The failure to file a financial disclosure report or portions thereof;
(iii) Potential or actual conflicts of interests, or appearances thereof, which were disclosed on a financial disclosure report; and
(iv) Potential or actual violations of other laws governing the conduct or financial holdings of officers or employees of that agency, and
(10) The agency’s standards of conduct regulations, financial disclosure systems, and post-employment enforcement systems are evaluated periodically to determine their adequacy and effectiveness in relation to current agency responsibilities;
(11) Information developed by internal audit and review staff, the Office of the Inspector General, if any, or other audit groups is reviewed to determine whether such information discloses a need for revising agency standards of conduct or for taking prompt corrective action to remedy actual or potential conflict of interest situations;
(12) The services of the agency’s Office of the Inspector General, if any, are utilized when appropriate, including the referral of matters to and acceptance of matters from that Office;
(13) A list of those persons to whom delegations of authority are made pursuant to § 2638.204(a) is maintained and made available to the Office of Government Ethics, upon request; and
(14) Information required by the Act or requested by the Office of Government Ethics in the performance of its responsibilities is provided in a complete and timely manner.