[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 135 (Tuesday, July 15, 2003)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 41681-41683]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-17787]

Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 68, No. 135 / Tuesday, July 15, 2003 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 41681]]


5 CFR Part 2600

RIN 3209-AA21

Updating Amendments to Office of Government Ethics Organization 
and Functions Regulation

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics is updating its organization 
and functions regulation. These amendments are necessary because of 
organizational changes that have occurred within OGE since the 
regulation was first published in 1990. In addition, OGE is making 
other minor changes to improve the regulation and to make information 
concerning OGE programs more readily available to the public and to 
other Federal agencies.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 15, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Horton, Attorney Advisor, 
Office of Government Ethics; Telephone: 202-482-9300; TDD 
(Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and Speech Impaired): 202-482-
9293; FAX: 202-482-9237.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In recent years, the Office of Government 
Ethics has made several changes to its organizational structure. These 
changes were made to improve OGE's internal agency operations, provide 
more emphasis on its education programs, increase emphasis on its 
annual and termination financial disclosure systems for Presidential 
appointees confirmed by the Senate, and to expand many of the other 
ethics program services that OGE provides to executive branch agencies.
    Among these changes, OGE created a new Office of Agency Programs 
(OAP) to replace the former Office of Program Assistance and Review. 
OAP was later reorganized to include three divisions: the Education 
Division, the Program Services Division, and the Program Review 
    Since OGE's organization and functions regulation was published in 
1990, as codified at 5 CFR part 2600, OGE has also established the 
Office of Government Relations and Special Projects (OGRSP). Over the 
past several years, OGE has received requests from U.S. foreign policy-
making entities and has provided technical assistance through the OGRSP 
to foreign governments and multinational organizations concerning 
preventive programs (like OGE's) which are part of larger 
anticorruption efforts.
    The Office of Administration and Information Management (OAIM) was 
added as a separate office within OGE due to the increased use of 
information technology within OGE and by other Federal agencies in 
fulfilling their respective missions. The OAIM assists OGE in its 
continuing efforts to provide improved customer service, to persons 
both within and outside the executive branch of the Federal Government.
    Part 2600 is now being amended to reflect the addition of these 
offices and to provide a short description of the functions of each.
    The statement of the functions of the Office of the Director in 
paragraph (b) of Sec.  2600.103 has been modified to reflect additional 
responsibilities that have been acquired by the OGE Director since 1990 
and to accommodate recent changes made to that office's organization. 
Pursuant to Executive Order 12805, the Director serves as a member of 
both the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and the 
Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE). These councils 
were established to coordinate and enhance Governmental efforts to 
promote integrity and efficiency and to detect and prevent fraud, 
waste, and abuse in Federal programs. The Director also serves, 
pursuant to Executive Order 12993, as a member of the Integrity 
Committee. This committee receives, reviews and refers for 
investigation certain allegations of wrongdoing against Inspectors 
General and certain staff members of the Inspector General's Offices.
    The Director's responsibilities also include leading many of OGE's 
outreach activities with private and nongovernmental sector entities. 
These activities are designed to promote awareness of OGE and its 
mission as well as to share ideas and best practices. We have amended 
Sec.  2600.103 to reflect these new responsibilities.
    Finally, other changes being made in part 2600 include providing 
OGE's Internet Web site address, providing OGE's new main telephone 
numbers, and updating the information in the section describing OGE's 
history. Other minor changes were made to some section headings in this 
part and to the regulation's language in a few places.

Matters of Regulatory Procedure

Administrative Procedure Act

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), as Director of the Office of 
Government Ethics, I find good cause exists for waiving the general 
notice of proposed rulemaking, opportunity for public comment, and 30-
day delay in effectiveness as to this regulatory revision. The notice, 
comment and delayed effective date are being waived because this 
regulation concerns matters of agency organization, practice and 

Executive Order 12866

    In promulgating these amendments, OGE 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. 
These amendments have not been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget under that Executive order, since they are not deemed 
``significant'' thereunder.

Executive Order 12988

    As Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I have reviewed 
this final amendatory regulation in light of section 3 of Executive 
Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, and certify that it meets the 
applicable standards provided therein.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    As Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I certify under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) that this rulemaking 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.

[[Page 41682]]

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply 
because this rulemaking does not contain information collection 
requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and 

Congressional Review Act

    The Office of Government Ethics has determined that this amendatory 
rulemaking is a nonmajor rule under the Congressional Review Act (5 
U.S.C. chapter 8) and will submit a report thereon to the U.S. Senate, 
House of Representatives and General Accounting Office in accordance 
with that law at the same time this rulemaking document is sent to the 
Office of the Federal Register for publication in the Federal Register.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 2600

    Conflict of interests, Government employees, Organization and 
functions (Government agencies).

    Approved: July 1, 2003.
Amy L. Comstock,
Director, Office of Government Ethics.

Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Office of 
Government Ethics is revising 5 CFR part 2600 to read as follows:


2600.101 Mission and history.
2600.102 Contact information.
2600.103 Office of Government Ethics organization and functions.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government Act of 1978); 
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.

Sec.  2600.101  Mission and history.

    (a) The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) was established by the 
Ethics in Government Act of 1978, Public Law 95-521, 92 Stat. 1824 
(1978). OGE exercises leadership in the executive branch of the Federal 
Government to prevent conflicts of interest on the part of executive 
branch employees and resolve those conflicts of interest that do occur. 
In partnership with executive branch departments and agencies, OGE 
fosters high ethical standards for executive branch employees which, in 
turn, strengthens the public's confidence that the Government's 
business is conducted with impartiality and integrity.
    (b) Originally an entity within the Office of Personnel Management, 
OGE became a separate executive branch agency on October 1, 1989, 
pursuant to section 3 of the Office of Government Ethics 
Reauthorization Act of 1988, Public Law 100-598, 102 Stat. 3031 (1988). 
OGE is the supervising ethics office for all executive branch officers 
and employees pursuant to the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, Public Law 
101-194, 103 Stat. 1716 (1989), as amended by Public Law 101-280, 104 
Stat. 149 (1990). Additionally, OGE has various responsibilities under 
Executive Order 12674 of April 12, 1989, ``Principles of Ethical 
Conduct for Government Officers and Employees'' (3 CFR, 1989 Comp., pp. 
215-218), as modified by Executive Order 12731 of October 17, 1990 (3 
CFR, 1990 Comp., pp. 306-311).

Sec.  2600.102  Contact information.

    (a) Address. The Office of Government Ethics is located at 1201 New 
York Avenue, NW., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-3917. OGE does not 
have any regional offices.
    (b) Web site. Information about OGE and its role in the executive 
branch ethics program as well as copies of publications that have been 
developed for training, educational and reference purposes are 
available electronically on OGE's Internet Web site (http://www.usoge.gov). The Web site has copies of various Executive orders, 
statutes, and regulations that together form the basis for the 
executive branch ethics program. The site also contains ethics advisory 
opinions and letters published by OGE, as well as other information 
pertinent to the Office.
    (c) Telephone numbers. OGE's main telephone number is 202-482-9300. 
Persons who are deaf or speech impaired may contact OGE at the 
following TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and Speech 
Impaired) number: 202-482-9293. The main OGE FAX number is 202-482-

Sec.  2600.103  Office of Government Ethics organization and functions.

    (a) The Office of Government Ethics is divided into the following 
    (1) The Office of the Director;
    (2) The Office of General Counsel and Legal Policy;
    (3) The Office of Government Relations and Special Projects;
    (4) The Office of Agency Programs; and
    (5) The Office of Administration and Information Management.
    (b) Office of the Director. The Director of the Office of 
Government Ethics is appointed by the President and confirmed by the 
Senate. The Director advises the White House and executive branch 
Presidential appointees on Government ethics matters; maintains a 
liaison and provides guidance on ethics to executive branch departments 
and agencies; and oversees and coordinates all OGE rules, regulations, 
formal advisory opinions and major policy decisions. The Director also 
serves as a member of the President's Council on Integrity and 
Efficiency; the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency; the 
Integrity Committee; and on such other boards, councils, and committees 
as may be required by statute, Executive order or regulation. The 
Director represents the agency in various public outreach initiatives.
    (c) Office of General Counsel and Legal Policy. (1) The Office of 
General Counsel and Legal Policy develops regulations and legislative 
proposals pertaining to conflict of interest statutes and standards of 
ethical conduct applicable to executive branch officers and employees, 
and executive branch public and confidential financial disclosure 
requirements. In addition, this Office provides advice and counseling 
to agency ethics officials through formal and informal advisory 
opinions, policy memoranda, and consultations. This Office also manages 
OGE's review and certification of financial disclosure reports filed by 
persons nominated by the President for positions requiring Senate 
confirmation; oversees the creation and operation of qualified and 
blind trusts and the issuance of certificates of divestiture; and 
responds to press inquiries.
    (2) The General Counsel is the principal deputy of the Director of 
    (d) Office of Government Relations and Special Projects. The Office 
of Government Relations and Special Projects provides liaison to the 
Office of Management and Budget and to the Congress regarding 
legislative matters, coordinates OGE's support of U.S. Government 
efforts concerning international anticorruption and ethics initiatives, 
and is responsible for certain OGE special projects.
    (e) Office of Agency Programs. (1) The Office of Agency Programs 
provides services to, and monitors, Federal executive branch agency 
ethics programs through three divisions: the Education Division, the 
Program Services Division, and the Program Review Division.
    (i) The Education Division develops ethics-related, instructor-led 
and Web-based training programs for executive agency ethics officials. 
The division also develops training for ethics officials to deliver to 
their employees. The division conducts annual surveys to determine the 
training needs of ethics officials and

[[Page 41683]]

tailors its program to address those needs.
    (ii) The Program Services Division is OGE's primary liaison to 
ethics officials in executive branch departments and agencies. Through 
its desk officers, the division assists ethics officials in developing, 
maintaining and improving all systems within their ethics programs. The 
division also discloses upon proper request copies of public financial 
disclosure reports that are filed with OGE, collects semiannual reports 
of payments accepted under 31 U.S.C. 1353, and works closely with 
ethics officials to ensure that annual and termination public financial 
disclosure reports and ethics agreements comply with ethics laws and 
    (iii) The Program Review Division monitors compliance with 
executive branch ethics laws and regulations in executive branch 
departments and agencies, regional offices, and military bases through 
on-site ethics program reviews. Reviews are conducted to identify and 
report strengths and weaknesses of agency ethics programs according to 
an annual program plan.
    (2) In addition to the functions performed by its three divisions, 
the Office of Agency Programs holds an annual ethics conference and 
collects annual reports concerning certain aspects of agency ethics 
    (f) Office of Administration and Information Management. The Office 
of Administration and Information Management provides support to all 
OGE operating programs through two divisions: The Administration 
Division and the Information Resources Management Division.
    (1) The Administration Division is responsible for personnel, 
payroll, fiscal resource management, travel, procurement, and the 
publishing and printing of materials.
    (2) The Information Resources Management Division is responsible 
for telecommunications, graphics, records management, program 
management of information, and Web site technologies.

[FR Doc. 03-17787 Filed 7-14-03; 8:45 am]