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Friday, January 18, 2019

House Democrats Look to Crack Down on Feds With Conflicts of Interest, Ethics Violations

Eric Katz
Government Executive
Originally posted January 3, 2018

Federal employees who pass through the revolving door with the private sector and engage in other actions that could present conflicts of interest would come under intensified scrutiny in a slew of reforms House Democrats introduced on Friday aimed at boosting ethics oversight in government.

The new House majority put forward the For the People Act (H.R. 1) as its first legislative priority, after the more immediate concern of reopening the full government. The package involves an array of issues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said were critical to “restoring integrity in government,” such as voting rights access and campaign finance changes. It would also place new restrictions on federal workers before, during and after their government service, with special obligations for senior officials and the president.

“Over the last two years President Trump set the tone from the top of his administration that behaving ethically and complying with the law is optional,” said newly minted House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. “That is why we are introducing the For the People Act. This bill contains a number of reforms that will strengthen our accountability for the executive branch officials, including the president.”

All federal employees would face a ban on using their official positions to participate in matters related to their former employers. Violators would face fines and one-to-five years in prison. Agency heads, in consultation with the director of the Office of Government Ethics, could issue waivers if it were deemed in the public interest.

The info is here.