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Service as an officer, director, or trustee with a professional scientific organization

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Service as an officer or member of a board of directors (or similar position) of a professional scientific organization


You must have an approved authorization of assignment memorandum signed by the USGS Director before acting in your official capacity as an officer or member of a board of directors (or a similar position) with a professional scientific organization.

NOTE: If you will be serving in your personal capacity as an officer or member of a board of directors (or a similar position) with a professional scientific organization your must file a Form 9-1510, Request for Ethics Approval for Outside Work or Activity (Nov 2013), which is available on Webforms.

A USGS employee who wants to serve as an officer or member of a board of directors (or similar position) with a professional scientific organization while on official Government duty time must:

  • Obtain a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USGS and the professional scientific organization where the employee will serve as an officer or member of a board of directors (or a similar position);

  • Review the summary of ethics criminal statutes and Federal ethics regulations (below) and contact Cara Campbell, ccampbell@usgs.gov, 703-648-6459 if the employee has any questions;

  • Sign and send a recusal letter that notifies the employees supervisor and subordinates that the employee will not participate in any USGS matter that will have a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of the professional scientific organization;

  • Receive an authorization of assignment memorandum signed by the Bureau Ethics Counselor (USGS Director);

  • Not engage in advocacy, fundraising or lobbying on behalf of the professional scientific organization.

The process:

  • The employee obtains an MOU worksheet by contacting Cara (ccampbell@usgs.gov) or by visiting the Ethics Office website at: MOU Worksheet (June 2017)

  • The employee completes the MOU worksheet and provides it (via e-mail) to the Ethics Office - ccampbell@usgs.gov and EthicsOffice@usgs.gov.

  • The Ethics Office prepares the MOU and sends it to the employee to secure the signatures of the head of the outside organization and their Associate or Regional Director. The MOU must also be signed by the USGS Director — the Ethics Office will secure the Director's signature.

  • The employee signs and dates a recusal letter prepared by the Ethics Office. The employee sends the signed MOU and recusal letter back to the Ethics Office.

  • The Ethics Office prepares a correspondence brief and memorandum to the USGS Director, recommending whether an authorization of assignment should be granted. The Ethics Office recommendation is accompanied by the signed MOU and recusal letter.

  • Once the Director signs the authorization of assignment memorandum, the Ethics Office sends the completed package to the employee. The employee signs an acknowledgement of understanding and returns the signature page to the Ethics Office.

  • NOTE: It can take several months for the process to be completed, so plan accordingly. You must have an approved authorization of assignment signed by the USGS Director before acting in your official capacity as an officer or member of a board of directors (or a similar position) with a professional scientific organization.

SUMMARY OF ETHICS CRIMINAL STATUTES AND REGULATIONS

The following criminal statutes apply to Federal employees and Special Government Employees (SGEs). Violations of the criminal provisions contained in Title 18 of the U.S. Code carry criminal and/or civil penalties.
A compilation of all Federal Ethics Laws is available at the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website, https://www.oge.gov/web/oge.nsf/Statutes.

If you have questions concerning these statutes or any other ethics matter, contact a USGS Ethics Counselor or e-mail us at EthicsOffice@usgs.gov.

18 U.S. Code § 201 Federal employees may not accept anything of value in exchange for taking (or refraining from taking) official Government action. Note: Government contractors may be prosecuted under this statute.

18 U.S. Code §§ 203 and 205 Except in the discharge of their official duties, Federal employees may not represent anyone other than the United States before an agency or court in connection with a particular matter in which the U.S. is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. Particular matter includes general rule making and general legislation, as well as contracts, grants, applications, permits, etc. Representation means any contact, even a telephone call or attending a meeting, when the intent is to influence.

18 U.S.C. § 207 Post-Government Employment: Depending on their official job duties, Federal employees may not represent the interests of their post-Government employers back to Federal agencies for certain periods of time after they leave Federal employment. See the USGS Ethics Office webpage for more information.

18 U.S. Code § 208 Financial conflicts of interest are prohibited. Federal employees may not take official actions in matters which can impact their personal financial interests, including those of their spouse, dependent child, an organization in which they serve as an officer, director or employee or an entity with which they are seeking employment.

18 U.S. Code § 209 Supplementation of Federal salary is prohibited. If an employees participation in a presentation, product or publication was performed as a part of his/her official duties, the employee may not personally receive any financial compensation.

18 U.S. Code § 1913 Federal employees may not use appropriated funds, official time or Government equipment to lobby Congress or an official of any government.

Executive Order 12731 Principles of Ethical Conduct: Federal employees are prohibited from taking any action in their official capacity which results in or creates the appearance of using public office for private gain (including the gain of a private organization); losing independence or impartiality; or adversely affecting the confidence of the public in the integrity of Government.

5 C.F.R. § 2635.808 Federal employees may not participate in fundraising activities in their official capacity except as specifically authorized by statute, Executive Order, or regulation, or except as specifically approved by the agency as part of their official duties.

Questions may be directed to the USGS Ethics Office by mail, e-mail (EthicsOffice@usgs.gov), telephone, or in person. We are located in the OSQI suite of offices, Third floor, A Stack, National Center, Mail Stop 603.

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Page Last Modified: Monday, August 14, 2017