Related articles on ethics:

PDF  IRS Employees:  Termination of Employment for Misconduct (Congr. Research Service Report, 2.3 MB, 51 pages)

PDF  Obligated By Oath (ASNM, Vol. 11, No. 2)

PDF  Personal Financial Conflicts of Interest of IRS Employees

PDF  Standards of Ethical Conduct for IRS Employees According to IRS Chief Counsel

Why You Just Gotta Trust Your Attorney

"Willful Blindness":  defined ITFFI-C

Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, p. 553

Of or relating to moral action, conduct, motive or character; as, ethical emotion; also treating of moral feelings, duties or conduct; containing precepts of morality; moral.  Professionally right or befitting; conforming to professional standards of conduct.  Kraushaar v. La Vin, 181 Misc. 508, 42 N.Y.S.2d 857, 859.

Legal ethics.  See Canon (Canons of judicial ethics); Code of Professional Responsibility; Legal ethics.

[Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, p. 553]

U.S. Office of Special Counsel-handle ethics complaints and violations of law within the federal government.

Office of Government Ethics Regulations

Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. 2635

Basic Obligations of Public Service, 5 C.F.R. 2635.101




Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec. 2635.101  Basic obligation of public service.

    (a) Public service is a public trust. Each employee has a  responsibility to the United States Government and its citizens to place  loyalty to the Constitution, laws and ethical principles above private  gain. To ensure that every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, each employee shall respect and adhere to the principles of ethical conduct set forth in this section, as well as the implementing standards contained in this part and in supplemental agency regulations.

    (b) General principles. The following general principles apply to every employee and may form the basis for the standards contained in this part. Where a situation is not covered by the standards set forth in this part, employees shall apply the principles set forth in this section in determining whether their conduct is proper.

    (1) Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.

    (2) Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.

    (3) Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic Government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.

    (4) An employee shall not, except as permitted by subpart B of this part, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee's agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's duties.

    (5) Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.

    (6) Employees shall not knowingly make unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Government.

    (7) Employees shall not use public office for private gain.

    (8) Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.

    (9) Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.

    (10) Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, that conflict with official Government duties and responsibilities.

    (11) Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.

    (12) Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those--such as Federal, State, or local taxes--that are imposed by law.

    (13) Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.

    (14) Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in this part. Whether particular circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.

    (c) Related statutes. In addition to the standards of ethical conduct set forth in this part, there are conflict of interest statutes that prohibit certain conduct. Criminal conflict of interest statutes of general applicability to all employees, 18 U.S.C. 201, 203, 205, 208, and 209, are summarized in the appropriate subparts of this part and must be taken into consideration in determining whether conduct is proper. Citations to other generally applicable statutes relating to employee conduct are set forth in subpart I and employees are further cautioned that there may be additional statutory and regulatory restrictions applicable to them generally or as employees of their specific agencies. Because an employee is considered to be on notice of the requirements of any statute, an employee should not rely upon any description or synopsis of a statutory restriction, but should refer to the statute itself and obtain the advice of an agency ethics official as needed.

Violations of Ethics Rules: 5 C.F.R. 735


NOTE: Part 1001 added to this chapter at 31 FR 873, January 22, 1966 and revised at 32 FR 11113, Aug. 1, 1967, 36 FR 6874, Apr. 9, 1971 and 61 FR 36996, July 16, 1996, supplement this part 735.

Subpart A—General Provisions
735.101 Definitions.
735.102 Disciplinary action.
735.103 Other regulations pertaining to con-duct.
Subpart B—Standards of Conduct
735.201 Gambling.
735.202 Safeguarding the examination process.
735.203 Conduct prejudicial to the Government.
AUTHORITY: 5 U.S.C. 7301; E.O. 12674, 54 FR
15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified
by E.O. 12731, 55 FR 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp.,
p. 306.

SOURCE: 57 FR 56434, Nov. 30, 1992, unless otherwise noted.
Subpart A—General Provisions

735.101 Definitions.
In this part:
Agency means an Executive agency (other than the General Accounting Office) as defined by 5 U.S.C. 105, the Postal Service, and the Postal Rate Commission.

Employee means any officer or employee of an agency, including a special Government employee, but does not include a member of the uniformed services.

Special Government employee means a ‘‘special Government employee,’’ as de-fined in 18 U.S.C. 202, who is employed
in the executive branch, but does not include a member of the uniformed services.

Uniformed services has the meaning given that term by 5 U.S.C. 2101(3).

735.102 Disciplinary action.
An employee’s violation of any of the regulations in subpart B of this part may be cause for disciplinary action by the employee’s agency, which may be in addition to any penalty prescribed by law.

735.103 Other regulations pertaining to conduct.
In addition to the standards of conduct in subpart B of this part, an employee shall comply with the standards of ethical conduct in 5 C.F.R. part 2635, as well as any supplemental regulation issued by the employee’s agency under 5 C.F.R. 2635.105. An employee’s violation of those regulations may be cause for the employee’s agency to take disciplinary action, or corrective action as that term is used in 5 C.F.R. part 2635. Such disciplinary action or corrective action may be in addition to any penalty prescribed by law.

Subpart B—Standards of Conduct

735.201 Gambling.
(a) While on Government-owned or leased property or while on duty for the Government, an employee shall not
conduct, or participate in, any gambling activity including the operation of a gambling device, conducting a lot-tery
or pool, a game for money or property, or selling or purchasing a numbers slip or ticket.

(b) This section does not preclude activities:

(1) Necessitated by an employee’s official
duties; or (2) Under section 7 of Executive Order 12353 and similar agency-approved ac-tivities.

735.202 Safeguarding the examination process.

(a) An employee shall not, either for or without compensation, engage in teaching, lecturing, or writing for the purpose of the preparation of a person or class of persons for an examination of the Office of Personnel Management or Board of Examiners for the Foreign Service that depends on information obtained as a result of the employee’s Government employment.

(b) This section does not preclude the preparation described in paragraph (a) of this section if:
(1) The information upon which the preparation is based has been made available to the general public or will be made available on request; or

(2) Such preparation is authorized in writing by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management or his or her designee, or by the Director General of the Foreign Service of his or her designee, as applicable.

735.203 Conduct prejudicial to the Government.

An employee shall not engage in criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, or other conduct prejudicial to the Government. 

Department of the Treasury rules of conduct in 31 C.F.R. Part 0:

  0.206 Disclosure of information.

 Employees shall not disclose official information without proper authority, pursuant to Department or bureau regulation.  Employees authorized to make disclosures should respond promptly and courteously to requests from the public for information when permitted to do so by law (31 CFR 1.9, 1.10, and 1.28(b)).

  0.207 Cooperation with official inquiries.

 Employees shall respond to questions truthfully and under oath when required, whether orally or in writing, and must provide documents and other materials concerning matters of official interest when directed to do so by competent Treasury authority.

  0.208 Falsification of official records.

 Employees shall not intentionally make false, misleading or ambiguous statements, orally or in writing, in connection with any matter of official interest.  Matters of official interest include among other things: Transactions with the public, government agencies or fellow employees; application forms and other forms that serve as a basis for appointment, reassignment, promotion or other personnel action;  vouchers;  leave records and time and attendance records;  work reports of any nature or accounts of any kind;  affidavits;  entry or record of any matter relating to or connected with an employee's duties;  and reports of any moneys or securities received, held or paid to, for or on behalf of the United States.

Dept of the Treasury Disclosure of Records regulations in 31 C.F.R. Part 1

  1.9 Records not to be otherwise withdrawn or disclosed.

 Except in accordance with this part, or as otherwise authorized, Treasury Department officers and employees are prohibited from making records or duplicates available to any person who is not an officer or employee of the Department, and are prohibited from withdrawing any such records or duplicates from the files, possession or control of the Department.


  1.10 Oral information.

 (a) Officers and employees of the Department may, in response to requests, orally provide information contained in records of the Department that are determined to be available to the public.  If the obtaining of such information requires a search of records, a written request and the payment of the fee for a record search set forth in   1.6 will be required.

 (b) Information with respect to activities of the Department not a matter of record shall not be disclosed if the information involves matters exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552 or the regulations in this part, or if the disclosure of such information would give the person requesting the information advantages not accorded to other citizens;

  1.28 Training, rules of conduct, penalties for non-compliance.

 (a) Training.  Subject to policy guidance and regulations issued by the Deputy Secretary, who has Departmentwide responsibility therefor, each component shall institute a training program to instruct employees and employees of Government contractors covered by 5 U.S.C. 552a(m), who are involved in the design, development, operation or maintenance of any system of records, on a continuing basis with respect to the duties and responsibilities imposed on them and the rights conferred on individuals by the Privacy Act, the regulations in this subpart, including the appendices thereto, and any other related regulations. Such training shall provide suitable emphasis on the civil and criminal penalties imposed on the Department and the individual employees by the Privacy Act for non-compliance with specified requirements of the Act as implemented by the regulations in this subpart.  (See 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(9))

 (b) Rules of conduct.  In addition, to the Standards of Conduct published in Part O of this title, particularly 31 C.F.R. 0.735-44, the following are applicable to employees of the Department of the Treasury (including, to the extent required by the contract or 5 U.S.C. 552a(m), Government contractors and employees of such contractors), who are involved in the design, development, operation or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any records, for or on behalf of the Department, including any component thereof.

 (1) The head of each office of a component of the Department shall be responsible for assuring that employees subject to such official's supervision are advised of the provisions of the Privacy Act, including the criminal penalties and civil liabilities provided therein, and the regulations in this subpart, and that such employees are made aware of their individual and collective responsibilities to protect the security of personal information, to assure its accuracy, relevance, timeliness and completeness, to avoid unauthorized disclosure either orally or in writing, and to insure that no information system concerning individuals, no matter how small or specialized is maintained without public notice.

 (2) Employees of the Department of the Treasury involved in the design, development, operation, or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any record shall:

 (i) Collect no information of a personal nature from individuals unless authorized to collect it to achieve a function or carry out a responsibility of the Department;

 (ii) Collect from individuals only that information which is necessary to Department functions or responsibilities, unless related to a system exempted under 5 U.S.C. 552a (j) or (k):

 (iii) Collect information, wherever possible, directly from the individual to whom it relates, unless related to a system exempted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j);

 (iv) Inform individuals from whom information is collected about themselves of the authority for collection, the purposes thereof, the use that will be made of the information, and the effects, both legal and practical, of not furnishing the information.  (While this provision does not explicitly require it, where feasible, third party sources should be informed of the purposes for which information they are asked to provide will be used.);

 (v) Neither collect, maintain, use nor disseminate information concerning an individual's religious or political beliefs or activities or membership in associations or organizations, unless (A) the individual has volunteered such information for the individual's own benefits;  (B) the information is expressly authorized by statute to be collected, maintained, used or disseminated;  or (C) the activities involved are pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized investigation, adjudication or correctional activity;

 (vi) Advise their supervisors of the existence or contemplated development of any record system which is capable of retrieving information about individuals by individual identifier;

 (vii) Disseminate no information concerning individuals outside the Department except when authorized by 5 U.S.C. 552a or pursuant to a routine use published in the Federal Register;

 (viii) Assure that an accounting is kept in the prescribed form, of all dissemination of personal information outside the Department, whether made orally or in writing, unless disclosed under 5 U.S.C. 552 and Subpart A of this part;

 (ix) Maintain and process information concerning individuals with care in order to insure that no inadvertent disclosure of the information is made either within or without the Department;  and

 (x) Assure that the proper Department authorities are aware of any information in a system maintained by the Department which is not authorized to be maintained under the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, including information on First Amendment Activities, information that is inaccurate, irrelevant or so incomplete as to risk unfairness to the individual concerned.

 (3) Heads of components within the Department or their delegates shall, at least annually, review the record systems subject to their supervision to insure compliance with the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 and the regulations in this subpart.  (See 5 U.S.C. 552a (e)(9), (i) and (m))

 (c) Criminal penalties.

 (1) The Privacy Act imposes criminal penalties on the conduct of Government officers or employees as follows:  Any officer or employee of an agency (which term includes the Department of the Treasury):

 (i) Who by virtue of the official's employment or official position, has possession of, or access to, agency records which contain individually identifiable information the disclosure of which is prohibited by this section (5 U.S.C. 552a) or regulations established thereunder, and who knowing that disclosure of the specific material is so prohibited, willfully discloses the material in any manner to any person or agency not entitled to receive it, or

 (ii) Who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of paragraph (e)(4) of this section (5 U.S.C. 552a)--shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

 (2) The Act also imposes a collateral criminal penalty on the conduct of any person as follows:

 "Any person who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any record concerning an individual from an agency under false pretenses shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000."

 (3) For the purposes of 5 U.S.C. 552a (i), the provisions of paragraph  (c)(1) of this section are applicable to Government contractors and employees of such contractors who by contract, operate by or on behalf of the Department of the Treasury a system of records to accomplish a Departmental function. Such contractor and employees are considered employees of the Department of the Treasury for the purposes of 5 U.S.C. 552a(i).  (See 5 U.S.C. 552a (i) and (m).)