SOCO ADVISORY

Department of Defense
Office of General Counsel
Standards of Conduct Office (SOCO)
September 11, 2006
Number 06-11
soco@dodgc.osd.mil

1. Annual On-line Ethics Training now Available.

The Standards of Conduct Office is pleased to announce that our annual on-line ethics training is now available on the SOCO web site at: http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/. When you get to the site, on the left-hand side, you will see "2006 On-Line Ethics Training." This year, all DoD personnel who file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (SF 278) or a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450) must complete annual ethics training. (DoD Directive 5500.7-R, the "Joint Ethics Regulation," 11-301(a) as to public filers and 11-301(b)(3) as to confidential filers.) As long as a qualified instructor is available when personnel take the computer based training, such training satisfies the annual requirement. 5 C.F.R. 2638.704(c)(1) and 5 C.F.R. 2638.705(c)(1).

2. New OGE Procedures regarding the OGE Form 450 and JER Implementation.

As most of you are aware, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) changed the filing period for the OGE Form 450 to a calendar year (ending December 31, 2006). This change alters much of the procedural guidance in the Joint Ethics Regulation (JER). To clarify application of the new procedure, the DoD General Counsel issued a memorandum describing the effect of the superseding regulations on the JER. Our office produced a summary of the new procedures in a "page-by-page" format suitable for inserting in your JER along with expanded practical guidance on running the Confidential Financial Disclosure Program during the transition.

The SOCO web site, at http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/, under the "Ethics Resource Library", "Forms," "OGE Form 450," has the General Counsel's memorandum, its enclosure listing the OGE regulations and superseded JER sections, the page-by-page listing of affected JER sections, and the program guidance.

3. Distribution of Campaign Stickers on Federal Property by Federal Employee Results in his Retirement.

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), in a release dated August 15, 2006, settled a complaint for disciplinary action against VA employee Eric Foster who distributed campaign stickers for supporting Senator John Kerry for President in 2004 at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. OSC found that the Federal employee was participating in a partisan political activity on Federal property thereby violating the Hatch Act. As part of the settlement, Mr. Foster agreed to retire from his position no later than September 5, 2006. The press release can be found at http://www.osc.gov/documents/press/2006/pr06_14.htm.

4. Informal Digests of OGE opinions now available on SOCO web site.

Informal digests of the Office of Government Ethics opinions issued in 2005 are now available on the SOCO web site in the "Ethics Resource Library" under "Digest of OGE opinions." The digests assist in finding topical OGE opinions such as post employment.

 

Jeff Green
DoD Standards of Conduct Office
http://www.defenselink.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/