[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 124 (Thursday, June 27, 2002)]
[Page 43321]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-16256]

[[Page 43321]]



Review of Criminal Conflict of Interest Statutes; Opportunity for 

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics is conducting a review of the 
criminal conflict of interest statutes, 18 U.S.C. 202-209. This notice 
provides the public and agencies an opportunity to comment.

DATES: July 29, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Send any comments to the Office of Government Ethics, Suite 
500, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20005-3917, Attention: 
Mr. Stuart D. Rick. Comments also may be sent electronically to OGE's 
Internet E-mail address at [email protected]. For E-mail messages, the 
subject line should include the following reference--''Comments 
Regarding Criminal Conflict of Interest Law Review.''

Counsel, Office of Government Ethics; Telephone: 202-208-8000; TDD: 
202-208-8025; FAX: 202-208-8037.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a report to Congress last year, the 
Office of Government Ethics announced its intention to examine whether 
the criminal conflict of interest laws could be simplified or otherwise 
improved without sacrificing the necessary protection they provide for 
a fair and impartial Government process. Office of Government Ethics, 
Report on Improvements to the Financial Disclosure Process for 
Presidential Nominees 21-22 (April 2001) (available on OGE's website, 
www.usoge.gov, under ``Forms, Publications & Other Ethics Documents''). 
Pursuant to its authorities under section 402 of the Ethics in 
Government Act of 1978, as amended (5 U.S.C. appendix), the Office of 
Government Ethics is now conducting a review of these statutes, which 
are codified at 18 U.S.C. 202-209.
    The Office of Government Ethics is evaluating whether the conflict 
of interest laws are adequately tailored to their legislative purposes, 
in light of the realities of modern Government. The conflict of 
interest statutes have existed in more or less their current form for 
nearly 40 years, and the last comprehensive examination of the conflict 
of interest statutes occurred in 1989. See To Serve With Honor: Report 
of the President's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform (March 
1989). Since that time, a number of developments have occurred, 
including, among others: sustained Government efforts toward 
privatization of certain functions; a growing emphasis on 
commercialization of Government-developed products; ever-increasing 
reliance on personnel with scientific and technological expertise; and 
a series of decisions by the courts that have called into question the 
appropriate scope of certain restrictions on the outside activities of 
Federal employees, e.g., Van Ee v. EPA, 202 F.3d 296 (D.C. Cir. 2000). 
The Office of Government Ethics' own experience in applying these laws 
over the years has led us to question whether some of the current 
restrictions may be unnecessarily broad. At the same time, we also 
believe there may be areas in which the current laws are too narrow to 
address real conflicts.
    As part of its review, OGE invites members of the public to express 
their views concerning the need for change to the criminal conflict of 
interest statutes. Interested persons may submit written comments to 
OGE by July 29, 2002. Although numerous agency ethics officials already 
have provided comments concerning this matter in written submissions 
and/or meetings with OGE, any interested agencies also are invited to 
submit any additional comments they may have in response to this 

    Approved: June 20, 2002.
Amy L. Comstock,
Director, Office of Government Ethics.
[FR Doc. 02-16256 Filed 6-26-02; 8:45 am]