[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 212 (Thursday, October 31, 1996)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 56109-56114]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-27735]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 61, No. 212 / Thursday, October 31, 1996 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 56109]]



FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

5 CFR Ch. XXIX

47 CFR Part 19

[FCC 96-419]
RIN 3209-AA15


Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct and Financial 
Disclosure Regulations for Employees of the Federal Communications 
Commission and Revision of the Commission's Employee Responsibilities 
and Conduct Regulations

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission).

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Communications Commission, with the concurrence of 
the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), is issuing regulations for 
employees of the Commission that supplement the Standards of Ethical 
Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch issued by OGE. The 
supplemental rules require professional employees of the Commission to 
obtain approval prior to engaging in certain outside activities and 
provide cross-references to restrictions based on authority other than 
the executive branch-wide Standards. The Commission also is revising 
its residual standards of conduct regulations found in 47 CFR part 19 
by repealing those sections that were superseded by the executive 
branch-wide Standards and the Commission's supplemental regulation, and 
by adding general cross references to the Executive Branch-wide 
standards and related regulations. In addition, the Commission is 
transferring to a new supplemental part certain provisions in its 
existing financial disclosure regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These regulations are effective October 31, 1996.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon B. Kelley, Senior Attorney-
Advisor, Office of General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, 
telephone: (202) 418-1720.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On August 7, 1992, the Office of Government Ethics published a 
final rule entitled Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
Executive Branch (Standards). See 57 FR 35006-35067, as corrected at 57 
FR 48557, 57 FR 52583 and 60 FR 51667, with additional grace period 
extensions at 59 FR 4779-4780, 60 FR 6390-6391 and 60 FR 66857-66858. 
The Standards, codified at 5 CFR part 2635 and effective February 3, 
1993, establish uniform Standards of Ethical Conduct that apply to all 
executive branch personnel.
    With the concurrence of OGE, 5 CFR 2635.105 authorizes executive 
branch agencies to publish agency-specific supplemental ethical conduct 
standards regulations necessary to implement their respective ethics 
programs. The Commission, with OGE's concurrence, has determined that 
its supplemental regulations, being codified in new chapter XXIX of 5 
CFR, consisting of parts 3901 and 3902 (see the discussion below at 
section II.B of this Supplementary Information block with regard to 
this latter financial disclosure supplemental regulation) are necessary 
to implement the Commission's ethics program successfully, in light of 
the Commission's programs, operations and statutory requirements.

II. Analysis of the Regulations

A. Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct

Section 3901.101  General
    Section 3901.101 explains that the regulation applies to all 
employees of the Commission, and is supplemental to the executive 
branch-wide Standards. The section also cross-references the 
Commission's employee responsibilities and conduct regulations at 47 
CFR part 19, as well as the executive branch-wide financial disclosure 
regulations at 5 CFR part 2634 and the FCC supplemental financial 
disclosure regulations at 5 CFR part 3902.
Section 3901.102  Prior Approval for Practice of a Profession
    The OGE standards, at 5 CFR 2635.803, recognize that an agency may 
find it necessary or desirable to issue supplemental regulations 
requiring its employees to obtain approval before engaging in outside 
employment or activities. The Commission's old standards of conduct 
regulations, at 47 CFR 19.735-203(b), have long required prior approval 
for the outside practice of an employee's profession. The Commission 
has found this requirement useful in ensuring that the outside 
employment activities of employees conform with all applicable laws and 
regulations. In accordance with 5 CFR 2635.803, the Commission has 
determined that it is necessary to the administration of its ethics 
program to continue to require such approval with minor modifications.
    Section 3901.102(a) requires any professional employee of the 
Commission to obtain approval before engaging in the practice of the 
same profession as that of the employee's official position. This 
provision reflects the way the Commission has applied the prior 
approval requirement which has been found at 47 CFR 19.735-203(b), 
which is now being removed. For clarity, new Sec. 3901.102(a) also 
includes definitions of the terms ``profession'' and ``professional 
employee'' that are based upon the definition of ``profession'' in 
OGE's executive branch-wide outside employment regulation at 5 CFR 
2636.305(b)(1). The procedure for requesting prior approval under the 
requirement which has been found at 47 CFR 19.735-203(b) also is being 
changed, in Sec. 3901.102(b), to require employees to obtain approval 
from both the Designated Agency Ethics Official or his or her designee, 
and the employee's immediate supervisor; and to require employees to 
submit a revised request for approval upon a significant change in the 
nature or scope of the employee's FCC position or the services to be 
provided in practicing his or her profession.
    The criteria in Sec. 3901.102(c), to be used in approving or 
denying requests for prior approval, indicate that Sec. 3901.102 does 
not itself provide a basis to deny permission to engage in an outside 
activity. The basis for disapproval, if any, must be found in

[[Page 56110]]

applicable statutes or the executive branch-wide Standards.

B. Supplemental Financial Disclosure Regulations

    The Commission's old employee responsibilities and conduct 
regulations, at 47 CFR 19.735-403(b), have long required all employees 
who file either Standard Form (SF) 278, ``Public Financial Disclosure 
Report,'' or SF/OGE Form 450, ``Confidential Financial Disclosure 
Report,'' to also file a supplemental financial disclosure form (FCC 
Form A54A) that collects information about income and interests in 
property or assets valued below the minimum reporting limits of the SF 
278 and the SF/OGE Form 450, respectively. Section 4(b) of the 
Communications Act of 1934, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A), contains 
prohibitions on certain financial interests of any value. The 
Commission has determined that it is necessary to fulfill its statutory 
responsibilities under the Communications Act to continue to require 
employees to submit this supplemental financial disclosure form. 
Accordingly, pursuant to 5 CFR 2634.103, 2634.601(b) and 2634.901(b), 
the Commission is issuing, with OGE's concurrence, a supplemental 
financial disclosure regulation in new part 3902 of 5 CFR retaining 
procedures which have been found in 47 CFR 19.735-403(b), now being 
revoked, for Commission employees to follow in filing FCC Form A54A.
Section 3902.101  General
    Section 3902.101 of the final rule explains that the regulations in 
part 3902 apply to employees of the Federal Communications Commission 
and supplement the Executive Branch Financial Disclosure Regulations 
contained in 5 CFR part 2634.
Section 3902.102  Employees Required to Submit FCC Form A54A, 
``Confidential Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial 
Interests''
    Section 3902.102 of the final rule provides that all employees of 
the Commission, including special Government employees, who are 
required to file a Standard Form (SF) 278, ``Public Financial 
Disclosure Report,'' or SF/OGE Form 450, ``Confidential Financial 
Disclosure Report,'' are also required to file FCC Form A54A, 
``Confidential Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial 
Interests.'' In addition, Sec. 3902.102 explains that the purpose of 
FCC Form A54A is to require disclosure of income and interests in 
property and assets valued below the minimum reporting limits of the SF 
278 and the SF/OGE Form 450, due to the restrictions on financial 
interests in the Communications Act.
Section 3902.103  Submission and Review of Employees' Statements
    Section 3902.103 of the final rule provides the time frames for 
filing these statements by employees, to whom the statements should be 
submitted for review, and the process if an employee is found to have a 
conflict or appearance of a conflict of interest arising from a 
financial interest. The Commission's old employee responsibilities and 
conduct regulations, at 47 CFR 19.735-405 which is now being revoked, 
have long contained identical procedures and the Commission has found 
them necessary to fulfill its statutory responsibilities under section 
4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b).
Section 3902.104  Confidentiality of Employees' Statements
    Section 3902.104 provides that employee supplemental statements are 
treated confidentially (see 5 CFR 2634.103(a)(2) and 2634.601(b)) and 
sets forth the basis for their disclosure. The Commission's 
responsibilities and conduct regulations, at 47 CFR 19.735-410 which is 
now being revoked, have long required confidential treatment of such 
employee statements and the Commission has found this rule useful in 
obtaining the necessary financial information in fulfillment of its 
statutory responsibilities under section 4(b) of the Communications 
Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b).

III. Repeal and Revision of Federal Communications Commission 
Standards of Conduct Regulations

    The final rules repeal many of the FCC regulations in 47 CFR part 
19. Most of the repealed provisions were superseded by the executive 
branch-wide Standards at 5 CFR part 2635, or were superseded or 
rendered unnecessary by the interim rules regarding public and 
confidential financial disclosure reports at 5 CFR part 2634. Section 
19.735-203(b) of 47 CFR is superseded by the requirement for prior 
approval of the private practice of a profession at 5 CFR part 
3901.102. Other repealed provisions are unnecessary for inclusion in 47 
CFR part 19 because they duplicate the executive branch-wide employee 
responsibilities and conduct regulations at 5 CFR part 735. The 
Commission is replacing the repealed provisions with a cross-reference 
to the executive branch-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct and financial 
disclosure regulations at 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2635, the Commission's 
supplemental standards of ethical conduct and supplemental financial 
disclosure regulations at 5 CFR parts 3901 and 3902, and the executive 
branch-wide regulations regarding Employee Responsibilities and Conduct 
at 5 CFR part 735. In addition, the remaining, unsuperseded provisions 
in 47 CFR part 19 have been reorganized and edited for clarity and 
consistency with other authorities.
    The executive branch-wide Standards do not supersede regulations 
that an agency has authority, independent of 5 CFR part 2635, to issue. 
Nor would an agency have to include in its supplemental standards of 
ethical conduct an instruction or other issuance the purpose of which 
is to delegate to an agency designee authority to make any 
determination, give any approval or take any other action required or 
permitted by part 2635 or by supplemental agency regulations; or 
establish internal agency procedures for documenting or processing any 
determination, approval or other action required or permitted by part 
2635 or by supplemental agency regulations, or for retaining any such 
documentation. Such regulations, instructions and other issuances may 
be promulgated separately from the agency's supplemental regulations.
    The Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 303(r), authorizes the 
Commission to make such rules and regulations and prescribe such 
restrictions and conditions, not inconsistent with law, as may be 
necessary to carry out the provisions of that Act. Further, the Act, at 
47 U.S.C. 154(b), prohibits the Commissioners and employees of the 
Commission from having certain financial interests and from engaging in 
certain outside employment and activities. Accordingly, the Commission 
is retaining in 47 CFR part 19 regulations implementing the 
Communications Act's prohibitions on financial interests and on outside 
employment and activities, and identifying certain information that is 
nonpublic (see newly designated subpart B of part 19).

IV. Matters of Regulatory Procedure

Administrative Procedure Act

    These revisions apply to internal rules of agency management, 
personnel organization, practice and procedure for which notice and 
comment is not required. The Commission is, for the most part, simply 
removing those portions of part 19 that have been superseded by the OGE 
regulations. The

[[Page 56111]]

new supplemental regulations are essentially similar to rules 
previously contained in part 19 of the Commission's rules. 5 U.S.C. 
553(a)(2), (b)(3)(A)), and (d).

List of Subjects

5 CFR Part 3901

    Conflict of interests, Government employees, Outside activities.

5 CFR Part 3902

    Conflict of interests, Government employees, Financial interests.

47 CFR Part 19

    Conflicts of Interests, Government employees.

    Adopted: October 16, 1996.
    Released: October 29, 1996.

    By the Commission.
William F. Caton,
Acting Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    Approved: October 23, 1996.
Stephen D. Potts,
Director, Office of Government Ethics.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission, with the concurrence of the Office of 
Government Ethics, is amending title 5 and title 47 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations as follows:

TITLE 5--[AMENDED]

    1. A new chapter XXIX, consisting of parts 3901 and 3902, is added 
to title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations to read as follows:

CHAPTER XXIX--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

PART 3901--SUPPLEMENTAL STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR EMPLOYEES 
OF THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Sec.
3901.101  General.
3901.102  Prior approval for practice of a profession.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government 
Act of 1978); 47 U.S.C. 303(r); 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; 5 CFR 2635.105, 2635.803.


Sec. 3901.101  General.

    In accordance with 5 CFR 2635.105, the regulations in this part 
apply to employees of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and 
supplement the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
Executive Branch contained in 5 CFR part 2635. In addition to the 
standards in 5 CFR part 2635 and this part, employees are subject to 
the Executive Branch Financial Disclosure Regulations contained in 5 
CFR part 2634, the FCC's regulations at 5 CFR part 3902 supplementing 5 
CFR part 2634, and to FCC regulations regarding their responsibilities 
and conduct in 47 CFR part 19.


Sec. 3901.102  Prior approval for practice of a profession.

    (a) Prior approval requirement. A professional employee of the FCC 
shall obtain approval before engaging in the outside practice of the 
same profession as that of the employee's official position, whether or 
not for compensation. As used in this section, ``profession'' has the 
meaning set forth in Sec. 2636.305(b)(1) of this title, and 
``professional employee'' means an employee whose official FCC position 
is in a profession as defined in Sec. 2636.305(b)(1) of this title.
    (b) Procedures for requesting approval. (1) A request for approval 
shall be in writing and shall be submitted, through the following 
Commission officials, to the Designated Agency Ethics Official or his 
designee:
    (i) For Heads of Bureaus and Offices, through the Chairman;
    (ii) For employees in the immediate Office of a Commissioner, 
through the Commissioner; or
    (iii) For all other employees, through the Head of the Bureau or 
Office to which the employee is assigned.
    (2) A request for approval shall include, at a minimum:
    (i) A full description of the services to be performed in 
practicing the profession;
    (ii) The name and address of the person or organization for which 
services are to be provided; and
    (iii) The estimated total time that will be devoted to practicing 
the profession.
    (3) Upon a significant change in the nature or scope of the 
employee's FCC position or the services to be provided in practicing 
the profession, the employee shall submit a revised request for 
approval.
    (c) Standard for approval. Approval shall be granted only upon a 
determination that the proposed outside practice of the employee's 
profession is not expected to involve conduct prohibited by statute or 
Federal regulation, including 5 CFR 2635.

PART 3902--SUPPLEMENTAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR 
EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Sec.
3902.101  General.
3902.102  Employees required to submit FCC Form A54A, ``Confidential 
Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial Interests.''
3902.103  Submission and review of employees' statements.
3902.104  Confidentiality of employees' statements.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government 
Act of 1978); 47 U.S.C. 154(b), (j), (i) and 303(r); 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; 5 CFR 2634.103, 2634.601(b), 
2634.901(b).


Sec. 3902.101  General.

    The regulations in this part apply to employees of the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) and supplement the Executive Branch 
Financial Disclosure Regulations contained in 5 CFR part 2634.


Sec. 3902.102  Employees required to submit FCC Form A54A, 
``Confidential Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial 
Interests.''

    All employees, including special Government employees, who are 
required to file a Standard Form (SF) 278, ``Public Financial 
Disclosure Report,'' or a SF/OGE Form 450, ``Confidential Financial 
Disclosure Report,'' are also required to file FCC Form A54A, 
``Confidential Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial 
Interests.'' The purpose of FCC Form A54A is to require disclosure of 
income and interest in property and assets valued below the minimum 
reporting limits for the SF 278 and SF/OGE Form 450 in order to meet 
the separate requirements of section 4(b) of the Communications Act of 
1934, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b).


Sec. 3902.103  Submission and review of employees' statements.

    (a) An employee required to submit a statement of employment and 
financial interests will be notified individually of his or her 
obligation to file.
    (b) An employee required to submit an FCC Form A54A, ``Confidential 
Supplemental Statement of Employment and Financial Interests'' pursuant 
to Sec. 3902.102 shall submit such statement to the Designated Agency 
Ethics Official, on the prescribed form, not later than 30 days after 
his or her entrance on duty, and annually thereafter at the time the 
employee

[[Page 56112]]

submits his or her SF 278 or SF/OGE Form 450.
    (c) Financial statements submitted under this subpart shall be 
reviewed by the Designated Agency Ethics Official.
    (d) When a statement submitted under this subpart or information 
from other sources indicates a potential violation of applicable laws 
and regulations, such as a conflict between the interests of an 
employee or special Government employee and the performance of his or 
her services for the Government, the employee concerned shall be 
provided an opportunity to explain and resolve the potential violation.
    (e) When, after explanation by the employee involved, the potential 
violation of law or regulation is not resolved, the information 
concerning the potential violation shall be reported to the Chairman by 
the Designated Agency Ethics Official for appropriate action.


Sec. 3902.104  Confidentiality of employees' statements.

    Each supplemental statement of employment and financial interests 
shall be held in confidence and shall be retained in the Office of the 
Designated Agency Ethics Official. Each employee charged with reviewing 
a statement is responsible for maintaining the statements in confidence 
and shall not allow access to or allow information to be disclosed from 
a statement except to carry out the purpose of this part or as 
otherwise required by law. Information from these statements shall not 
be disclosed except as the Chairman may determine in accordance with 
law or regulation.

TITLE 47--[AMENDED]

CHAPTER I--FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

    2. Part 19 of 47 CFR chapter I is revised to read as follows:

PART 19--EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDUCT

Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec.
19.735-101  Purpose.
19.735-102  Cross-reference to ethics and other conduct related 
regulations.
19.735-103  Definitions.
19.735-104  Delegations.
19.735-105  Availability of ethics and other conduct related 
regulations and statutes.
19.735-106  Interpretation and advisory service.
19.735-107  Disciplinary and other remedial action.

Subpart B--Employee Responsibilities and Conduct

19.735-201  Outside employment and other activity prohibited by the 
Communications Act.
19.735-202  Financial interests prohibited by the Communications 
Act.
19.735-203  Nonpublic information.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301; 47 U.S.C. 154 (b), (i), (j), and 
303(r).

Subpart A--General Provisions


Sec. 19.735-101  Purpose.

    The regulations in this part prescribe procedures and standards of 
conduct that are appropriate to the particular functions and activities 
of the Commission, and are issued by the Commission under authority 
independent of the uniform Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees 
of the Executive Branch at 5 CFR part 2635 or otherwise in accordance 
with 5 CFR 2635.105(c).


Sec. 19.735-102  Cross-reference to ethics and other conduct related 
regulations.

    In addition to the rules in this part, employees of the Federal 
Communications Commission (Commission) are subject to the Standards of 
Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch at 5 CFR part 
2635 and the Commission's regulations at 5 CFR part 3901 which 
supplement the executive branch-wide standards, the executive branch 
financial disclosure regulations at 5 CFR part 2634 and the 
Commission's regulations at 5 CFR part 3902 which supplement the 
executive branch-wide financial disclosure regulations, and the 
employee responsibilities and conduct regulations at 5 CFR part 735.


Sec. 19.735-103  Definitions.

    Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.
    Communications Act means the Communications Act of 1934, as 
amended, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.
    Employee means an officer or employee of the Commission including 
special Government employees within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 202(a) and 
the Commissioners.
    Person means an individual, a corporation, a company, an 
association, a firm, a partnership, a society, a joint stock company, 
or any other organization or institution.


Sec. 19.735-104  Delegations.

    (a) The Commission has delegated to the Chairman responsibility for 
the detection and prevention of acts, short of criminal violations, 
which could bring discredit upon the Commission and the Federal 
service.
    (b) Approvals under 18 U.S.C. 205(e). (1) Commissioners may approve 
the representational activities permitted by 18 U.S.C. 205(e) by other 
employees in their immediate offices. The Designated Agency Ethics 
Official has delegated authority to grant such approvals for all other 
employees except Commissioners.
    (2) (i) Requests for approval of the activities permitted by 18 
U.S.C. 205(e) shall be in writing and submitted as follows:
    (A) In the case of employees in the immediate offices of a 
Commissioner, to the Commissioner;
    (B) In the case of Heads of Offices and Bureaus, to the Chairman; 
and
    (C) In the case of all other employees except Commissioners, to the 
Head of the Office or Bureau to which the employee is assigned.
    (ii) An official (other than the Chairman or another Commissioner) 
to whom a request for approval under 18 U.S.C. 205(e) is submitted 
shall forward it to the Designated Agency Ethics Official with the 
official's recommendation as to whether the request should be granted.
    (3) Copies of all requests for approval under 18 U.S.C. 205(e) and 
the action taken thereon shall be maintained by the Designated Agency 
Ethics Official.
    (c) Waivers under 18 U.S.C. 208. (1) Commissioners may waive the 
applicability of 18 U.S.C. 208(a), in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 
208(b)(1) or 208(b)(3) and section 301(d) of Executive Order 12731, for 
other employees in their immediate offices. The Designated Agency 
Ethics Official has delegated authority to make such waiver 
determinations for all other employees except Commissioners.
    (2) (i) Requests for waiver of the applicability of 18 U.S.C. 
208(a) shall be in writing and submitted as follows:
    (A) In the case of employees in the immediate offices of a 
Commissioner, to the Commissioner;
    (B) In the case of Heads of Offices and Bureaus, to the Chairman; 
and
    (C) In the case of all other employees except Commissioners, to the 
Head of the Office or Bureau to which the employee is assigned.
    (ii) An official (other than the Chairman or another Commissioner) 
to whom a waiver request is submitted shall forward it to the 
Designated Agency Ethics Official with the official's recommendation as 
to whether the waiver should be granted.
    (3) Copies of all requests for waivers and the action taken thereon 
shall be maintained by the Designated Agency Ethics Official.

[[Page 56113]]

Sec. 19.735-105  Availability of ethics and other conduct related 
regulations and statutes.

    (a) (1) The Commission shall furnish each new employee, at the time 
of his or her entrance on duty, with a copy of:
    (i) The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive 
Branch (5 CFR part 2635);
    (ii) The Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of 
the Federal Communications Commission (5 CFR part 3901); and
    (iii) The Commission's Employee Responsibilities and Conduct 
regulations in this part.
    (2) The Head of each Office and Bureau has the responsibility to 
secure from every person subject to his or her administrative 
supervision a statement indicating that the individual has read and is 
familiar with the contents of the regulations in this part, and the 
regulations at 5 CFR parts 2635 and 3901, and to advise the Designated 
Agency Ethics Official that all such persons have provided such 
statements. Each new employee shall execute a similar statement at the 
time of entrance on duty. Periodically, and at least once a year, the 
Designated Agency Ethics Official shall take appropriate action to 
ensure that the Head of each Office and Bureau shall remind employees 
subject to his or her administrative supervision of the content of the 
regulations in 5 CFR parts 2635 and 3901 and this part.
    (b) Copies of pertinent provisions of the Communications Act of 
1934; title 18 of the United States Code; the Standards of Ethical 
Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (5 CFR part 2635); the 
Commission's Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct (5 CFR part 
3901); and the Commission's employee responsibilities and conduct 
regulations in this part shall be available in the office of the 
Designated Agency Ethics Official for review by employees.


Sec. 19.735-106  Interpretation and advisory service.

    (a) Requests for interpretative rulings concerning the 
applicability of 5 CFR parts 2635 and 3901, and this part, may be 
submitted through the employee's supervisor to the General Counsel, who 
is the Commission's Designated Agency Ethics Official pursuant to the 
delegation of authority at 47 CFR 0.251(a).
    (b) At the time of an employee's entrance on duty and at least once 
each calendar year thereafter, the Commission's employees shall be 
notified of the availability of counseling services on questions of 
conflict of interest and other matters covered by this part, and of how 
and where these services are available.


Sec. 19.735-107  Disciplinary and other remedial action.

    (a) A violation of the regulations in this part by an employee may 
be cause for appropriate disciplinary action which may be in addition 
to any penalty prescribed by law.
    (b) The Chairman will designate an officer or employee of the 
Commission who will promptly investigate all incidents or situations in 
which it appears that employees may have engaged in improper conduct. 
Such investigation will be initiated in all cases where complaints are 
brought to the attention of the Chairman, including: Adverse comment 
appearing in publications; complaints from members of Congress, private 
citizens, organizations, other Government employees or agencies; and 
formal complaints referred to the Chairman by the Designated Agency 
Ethics Official.
    (c) The Inspector General will be promptly notified of all 
complaints or allegations of employee misconduct. The Inspector General 
will also be notified of the planned initiation of an investigation 
under this part. Such notification shall occur prior to the initiation 
of the investigation required by paragraph (a) of this section. The 
Inspector General may choose to conduct the investigation in accordance 
with the rules in this part. Should the Inspector General choose to 
conduct the investigation, he will promptly notify the Chairman. In 
such case, the Inspector General will serve as the designated officer 
and be solely responsible for the investigation. In carrying out this 
function, the Inspector General may obtain investigative services from 
other Commission offices, other governmental agencies or non 
governmental sources and use any other means available to him in 
accordance with Public Law 100-504 or the Inspector General Act of 
1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. Appendix. The Inspector General will be 
provided with the results of all investigations in which he chooses not 
to participate.
    (d) The employee concerned shall be provided an opportunity to 
explain the alleged misconduct. When, after consideration of the 
employee's explanation, the Chairman decides that remedial action is 
required, he shall take remedial action. Remedial action may include, 
but is not limited to:
    (1) Changes in assigned duties;
    (2) Divestiture by the employee of his conflicting interest;
    (3) Action under the Commission's Ethics Program resulting in one 
of the following actions:
    (i) When investigation reveals that the charges are groundless, the 
person designated by the Chairman to assist in administration of the 
program may give a letter of clearance to the employee concerned, and 
the case will not be recorded in his Official Personnel Folder;
    (ii) If, after investigation, the case investigator deems the act 
to be merely a minor indiscretion, he may resolve the situation by 
discussing it with the employee. The case will not be recorded in the 
employee's Official Personnel Folder;
    (iii) If the case administrator considers the problem to be of 
sufficient importance, he may call it to the attention of the Chairman, 
who in turn may notify the employee of the seriousness of his act and 
warn him of the consequences of a repetition. The case will not be 
recorded in the employee's Official Personnel Folder, unless the 
employee requests it;
    (iv) The Chairman may, when in his opinion circumstances warrant, 
establish a special review board to investigate the facts in a case and 
to make a full report thereon, including recommended action; or
    (v) (A) If the Chairman decides that formal disciplinary action 
should be taken, he may prepare for Commission consideration a 
statement of facts and recommend one of the following:
    (1) Written reprimand. A formal letter containing a complete 
statement of the offense and official censure;
    (2) Suspension. A temporary non pay status and suspension from 
duty; or
    (3) Removal for cause. Separation for cause in case of a serious 
offense.
    (B) Only after a majority of the Commission approves formal 
disciplinary action will any record resulting from the administration 
of this program be placed in the employee's Official Personnel Folder; 
or
    (4) Disqualification for a particular assignment.
    (e) Remedial action, whether disciplinary or otherwise, shall be 
effected in accordance with any applicable laws, Executive orders, and 
regulations.

Subpart B--Employee Responsibilities and Conduct


Sec. 19.735-201  Outside employment and other activity prohibited by 
the Communications Act.

    Under section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(A)(iv), no employee of the

[[Page 56114]]

Commission may be in the employ of or hold any official relation to any 
person significantly regulated by the Commission under that Act. In 
addition, the Commissioners are prohibited by section 4(b) of the 
Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(4), from engaging in any other 
business, vocation, profession, or employment.

    Note: Under the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for 
Employees of the Federal Communications Commission, at 5 CFR 
3901.102, professional employees of the Commission must obtain 
approval before engaging in the private practice of the same 
profession as that of the employee's official position, whether or 
not for compensation.


Sec. 19.735-202  Financial interests prohibited by the Communications 
Act.

    (a) No Commissioner shall have a pecuniary interest in any hearing 
or proceeding in which he participates. (47 U.S.C. 154(j).)
    (b) (1) Section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(A), provides:

    No member of the Commission or person employed by the Commission 
shall:
    (i) Be financially interested in any company or other entity 
engaged in the manufacture or sale of telecommunications equipment 
which is subject to regulation by the Commission;
    (ii) Be financially interested in any company or other entity 
engaged in the business of communication by wire or radio or in the 
use of the electromagnetic spectrum;
    (iii) Be financially interested in any company or other entity 
which controls any company or other entity specified in clause (i) 
or clause (ii), or which derives a significant portion of its total 
income from ownership of stocks, bonds, or other securities of any 
such company or other entity; or
    (iv) Be employed by, hold any official relation to, or own any 
stocks, bonds, or other securities of, any person significantly 
regulated by the Commission under this act; except that the 
prohibitions established in this subparagraph shall apply only to 
financial interests in any company or other entity which has a 
significant interest in communications, manufacturing, or sales 
activities which are subject to regulation by the Commission.

    (2) To determine whether an entity has a significant interest in 
communications related activities that are subject to Commission 
regulations, the Commission shall consider, without excluding other 
relevant factors, the criteria in section 4(b) of the Communications 
Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(3). These criteria include:
    (i) The revenues and efforts directed toward the telecommunications 
aspect of the business;
    (ii) The extent of Commission regulation over the entity involved;
    (iii) The potential economic impact of any Commission action on 
that particular entity; and
    (iv) The public perception regarding the business activities of the 
company.
    (3)(i) Section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(B)(i), permits the Commission to waive the prohibitions at 47 
U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A). The Act's waiver provision at 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(B)(i) provides:

    The Commission shall have authority to waive, from time to time, 
the application of the prohibitions established in subparagraph (A) 
of section 4(b) to persons employed by the Commission if the 
Commission determines that the financial interests of a person which 
are involved in a particular case are minimal, except that such 
waiver authority shall be subject to the provisions of section 208 
of title 18, United States Code. The waiver authority established in 
this subparagraph shall not apply with respect to members of the 
Commission.

    (ii)(A) Requests for waiver of the provisions of 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(A) may be submitted by an employee to the Head of the 
employee's Office or Bureau, who will endorse the request with an 
appropriate recommendation and forward the request to the Designated 
Agency Ethics Official. The Designated Agency Ethics Official has 
delegated authority to waive the applicability of 47 U.S.C. 
154(b)(2)(A).
    (B) All requests for waiver shall be in writing and in the required 
detail. The dollar value for the financial interest sought to be waived 
shall be expressed explicitly or in categories of value provided at 5 
CFR 2634.301(d).
    (C) Copies of all waiver requests and the action taken thereon 
shall be maintained by the Designated Agency Ethics Official. In any 
case in which the Commission exercises the waiver authority established 
in section 4(b) of the Communications Act, the Commission shall publish 
notice of such action in the Federal Register and shall furnish notice 
of such action to the appropriate committees of each House of the 
Congress. Each such notice shall include information regarding the 
identity of the person receiving the waiver, the position held by such 
person, and the nature of the financial interests which are the subject 
of the waiver.


Sec. 19.735-203  Nonpublic information.

    (a) Except as authorized in writing by the Chairman pursuant to 
paragraph (b) of this section, or otherwise as authorized by the 
Commission or its rules, nonpublic information shall not be disclosed, 
directly or indirectly, to any person outside the Commission. Such 
information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    (1) The content of agenda items (except for compliance with the 
Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b); or
    (2) Actions or decisions made by the Commission at closed meetings 
or by circulation prior to the public release of such information by 
the Commission.
    (b) An employee engaged in outside teaching, lecturing, or writing 
shall not use nonpublic information obtained as a result of his 
Government employment in connection with such teaching, lecturing, or 
writing except when the Chairman gives written authorization for the 
use of that nonpublic information on the basis that its use is in the 
public interest.
    (c) This section does not prohibit the disclosure of an official 
Commission meeting agenda listing titles and summaries of items for 
discussion at an open Commission meeting. Also, this section does not 
prohibit the disclosure of information about the scheduling of 
Commission agenda items.

    Note: Employees also should refer to the provisions of the 
Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 
at 5 CFR 2635.703, on the use of nonpublic information. As is the 
case with section 2635.703, this part is intended only to cover 
knowing unauthorized disclosures of nonpublic information.

[FR Doc. 96-27735 Filed 10-30-96; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-F