These laws (18 U.S.C. §§ 201-209) apply to all Federal employees and each carries criminal penalties for non-compliance. They also serve as a basis for the ethics regulations known as the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. part 2635.
We advise any employee who seeks to use a limited exception in the statute to first seek advice from an ethics counselor.
There are limited regulatory exemptions authorized by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), an exception for certain financial interests arising solely out of Native American birthrights, and a very limited waiver authority.
The term “covered relationship” includes a wide variety of personal and business relationships that an employee or his or her family members may have with outside parties.
An employee whose impartiality could be questioned should consult with his or her ethics counselor before taking official action in a particular matter. An employee should follow this same procedure if the performance of his or her official duties would affect the financial interests of a friend, relative, or person with whom he or she is affiliated in a non-Federal capacity.