[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 121 (Wednesday, June 24, 1998)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34258-34259]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-16688]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

5 CFR Part 3501

43 CFR Part 20

RINS 1090-AA38, 3209-AA15


Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
Department of the Interior and Residual Employee Responsibilities and 
Conduct Regulations

AGENCY: Department of the Interior (Department).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of the Interior, with the concurrence of the 
Office of Government Ethics (OGE), is issuing a final rule for 
employees of the Department that supplements the Standards of Ethical 
Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Standards) issued by 
OGE. This final rule is a necessary supplement to the Standards because 
it addresses ethical issues unique to the Department. The final rule 
adopts prior interim regulations as final, with amendments deleting the 
provision specifying the title of an employee to serve as the 
Designated Agency Ethics Official and a typographical correction. The 
portion of the interim rule concerning the Department's separate 
employee responsibilities and conduct regulation is being amended by 
this final rule by changing the reference to the Designated Agency 
Ethics Official as well and by making technical revisions to the 
authority citation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 24, 1998.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mason Tsai or Linda T. Sullivan, 
Department Ethics Office, (202) 208-5916.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On August 7, 1992, the Office of Government Ethics published the 
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, and amended at 61 FR 42965-42970 (as corrected 
at 61 FR 48733), 61 FR 50689-50691 (interim rule revisions adopted as 
final at 62 FR 12531), and 62 FR 48746-48748, with additional grace 
period extensions at 59 FR 4779-4780, 60 FR 6390-6391, 60 FR 66857-
66858, and 61 FR 40950-40952. The Standards, codified at 5 CFR part 
2635 and effective February 3, 1993, establish uniform standards of 
ethical conduct for executive branch personnel.
    On October 16, 1997, the Department, with OGE's concurrence, issued 
an interim rule with a request for comments, setting forth the 
Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
Department of the Interior and revising the Department's employee 
responsibilities and conduct regulations at 43 CFR part 20. See 62 FR 
53713-53726. The Department's separate employee responsibilities and 
conduct regulations at 43 CFR part 20 had previously been revised in a 
final rule published on June 10, 1993 at 58 FR 32446-32449. The interim 
rule prescribed a 60-day comment period and invited comments from all 
interested parties. The Department received no comments in response to 
its requests for comments on the interim rule. The comment period 
closed on December 15, 1997.
    The Department, with OGE's concurrence, is now publishing as final, 
with a few minor technical amendments, the interim Supplemental 
Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Department of the Interior 
and the Department's separate employee responsibilities and conduct 
interim regulations. The Department has determined that these 
supplemental regulations are necessary to the success of its ethics 
program.

[[Page 34259]]

II. Analysis of Amendments

    This final rule amends two provisions in the interim rule which are 
located at 5 CFR 3501.101(b)(3) and 43 CFR 20.201(a), respectively, 
dealing with the designation of the Department's Designated Agency 
Ethics Official. These two provisions in the interim rule state that 
``Designated Agency Ethics Official'' (DAEO) means the Assistant 
Secretary--Policy, Management and Budget.
    Because future administrations and reorganizations may change the 
position title of the Assistant Secretary--Policy, Management and 
Budget, or result in the DAEO responsibilities being assigned to an 
employee in a different position, the Department has determined that it 
is not practical or cost efficient to publish in this rule the title of 
the officer who has been assigned the responsibilities of the DAEO. As 
a result, the final rule in 5 CFR 3501.101(b)(3) has been amended to 
delete the provision specifying the title of the employee who serves as 
the DAEO. As the procedure for designation of the DAEO is already 
referenced in the definition section of the Standards at 5 CFR 
2635.102(f), no substitute for the deleted supplemental provision is 
necessary. In the Department's separate residual regulation at 43 CFR 
20.201(a), the final rule has been amended to read that the DAEO means 
the official designated under 5 CFR 2638.201 to coordinate and manage 
the Department's ethics program. The authority citation to the 
Department's residual regulation is also being revised by adding a 
reference to 5 U.S.C. 7301 and by revising the citation to 43 U.S.C. 31 
to 43 U.S.C. 31(a). Other than these amendments to the Department's 
residual regulation, the final rule adopts the revisions to the 
Department's residual regulation made in the interim rule without 
change.

III. Correction of Typographical Error

    The Department is also correcting in this final rule a 
typographical error that appeared in the interim rule which was 
published in the Federal Register on October 16, 1997 (62 FR 53720). 
The citation mentioned in 5 CFR 3501.105(b)(4)(ii)(E) is incorrect and 
is being amended to read ``(b)(4)(ii) (A) through (D) of this 
section.''

IV. Matters of Regulatory Procedure

Executive Order 12886

    In promulgating this final rule, the Department has adhered to the 
regulatory philosophy and the applicable principles of regulation set 
forth in section 1 of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and 
Review. This regulation has not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under that Executive Order since it deals with 
agency organization, management, and personnel matters and is not, in 
any event, deemed ``significant'' thereunder.

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department has found good cause, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3), for waiving the 30-day delay in effectiveness as to this 
final rule. The reason for this determination is that it is important 
that these minor technical amendments effective as soon as possible.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department has determined that these regulations will not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Department has determined that these regulations do not contain 
any information collection requirements that require the approval of 
the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction 
Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 3501 and 43 CFR Part 20

    Conflict of interests, Government employees.

    Dated: June 11, 1998.
John D. Leshy,
Solicitor, Department of the Interior.

    Approved: June 17, 1998.
Stephen D. Potts,
Director, Office of Government Ethics.

    Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, the 
Department of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Office of 
Government Ethics, is adopting the interim rule adding 5 CFR chapter 
XXV, consisting of part 3501, and amending 43 CFR part 20 which was 
published at 62 FR 53713-53726 on October 16, 1997, as a final rule 
with the following changes:

CHAPTER XXV--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

PART 3501--SUPPLEMENTAL STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR EMPLOYEES 
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

    1. The authority citation for part 3501 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in 
Government Act of 1978); 30 U.S.C. 1211; 43 U.S.C. 11, 31(a); E.O. 
12674, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 3 CFR, 
1990 Comp., p. 306; 5 CFR 2635.105, 2635.203(a), 2635.403(a), 
2635.803.


Sec. 3501.101  [Amended]

    2. Section 3501.101 is amended by removing paragraph (b)(3) and 
redesignating paragraphs (b)(4) and (b)(5) as paragraphs (b)(3) and 
(b)(4), respectively.


Sec. 3501.105  [Amended]

    3. Section 3501.105 is amended by removing the cross-reference 
``(c)(4)(ii) (A) through (D)'' in paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(E) and adding in 
its place the cross-reference ``(b)(4)(ii)(A) through (D)''.

TITLE 43--[AMENDED]

SUBTITLE A--[AMENDED]

PART 20--EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDUCT

    4. The authority citation for part 20 is revised to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Reorganization 
Plan No. 3 of 1950); 30 U.S.C. 1211; 43 U.S.C. 11, 31(a); 5 CFR 
2634.903, 2634.905.

    5. Section 20.201 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 
follows:


Sec. 20.201  Ethics officials.

    (a) Designated Agency Ethics Official refers to the official 
designated under 5 CFR 2638.201 to coordinate and manage the 
Department's ethics program.
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[FR Doc. 98-16688 Filed 6-23-98; 8:45 am]
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