[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 155 (Friday, August 12, 2005)]
[Pages 47204-47206]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-15926]



Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Modified OGE Form 450 
Executive Branch Confidential Financial Disclosure Report

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics intends to modify the 
Executive Branch Confidential Financial Disclosure Report form 
(hereafter, OGE Form 450), to improve its clarity and design and change 
to some extent the information that it collects. After this first round 
notice and public comment period, OGE plans to submit a modified OGE 
Form 450 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and 
three-year extension of approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The 
modified OGE Form 450 would be used for confidential financial 
disclosure reporting under OGE's proposed amended executive branch 
regulations, once those regulatory revisions are finalized.

DATES: Comments by the public and agencies on this proposal are invited 
and should be received by October 26, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to OGE by any of the following 
     E-Mail: [email protected]. For E-mail messages, the subject 
line should include the following reference: ``OGE Form 450 Executive 
Branch Confidential Financial Disclosure Report Paperwork Comment.''

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     FAX: 202-482-9237.
     Mail, Hand Delivery or Courier: Office of Government 
Ethics, Suite 500, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20005-
3917, Attention: Mary T. Donovan.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary T. Donovan, Office of Government 
Ethics; telephone: 202-482-9232; TDD: 202-482-9293; FAX: 202-482-9237. 
A copy of the proposed modified OGE Form 450 may be obtained, without 
charge, by contacting Ms. Donovan.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The OGE Form 450 (OMB control number 3209-
0006) collects information from covered department and agency officials 
as required under OGE's executive branchwide regulatory provisions in 
subpart I of 5 CFR part 2634. The OGE Form 450 serves as the uniform 
report form for collection, on a confidential basis, of financial 
information required by the OGE regulation from certain new entrant and 
incumbent employees of the Federal Government executive branch 
departments and agencies. Agency ethics officials then use the 
completed OGE Form 450 reports to conduct conflict of interest reviews 
and to resolve any actual or potential conflicts found.
    The basis for the OGE regulation and the report form is two-fold. 
First, section 201(d) of Executive Order 12674 of April 12, 1989 (as 
modified by Executive Order 12731, 55 FR 42547 (October 19, 1990)) 
makes OGE responsible for the establishment of a system of nonpublic 
(confidential) financial disclosure by executive branch employees to 
complement the system of public financial disclosure under the Ethics 
in Government Act of 1978 (the ``Ethics Act''), as amended, 5 U.S.C. 
appendix. Second, section 107(a) of the Ethics Act, 5 U.S.C. app., sec. 
107(a), further provides authority for OGE as the supervising ethics 
office for the executive branch of the Federal Government to require 
that appropriate executive agency employees file confidential financial 
disclosure reports, ``in such form as the supervising ethics office may 
prescribe.'' The OGE Form 450, together with the underlying executive 
branchwide financial disclosure regulation (5 CFR part 2634), 
constitutes the basic report form OGE has prescribed for such 
confidential financial disclosure in the executive branch.

Proposed Modifications

    OGE is proposing modifications to the OGE Form 450's design and 
content. In March 2003, OGE distributed a survey to executive branch 
ethics officials which sought input on possible improvements to the 
financial disclosure system, the results of which proved beneficial in 
identifying what information needs to be reported in order for an 
agency ethics official to perform a thorough conflict of interest 
review. After reviewing the results of the survey and re-examining the 
current reporting requirements, OGE is proposing to simplify the 
confidential reporting and filing process.
    Modifications relating to form design are specifically intended to 
make the OGE Form 450 easier to complete on a computer. These 
modifications include changing the form layout from landscape to 
portrait. In addition, the form will be a PDF file that can be filled 
in electronically through the use of Adobe Reader Version 6.0. These 
modifications also are intended to make completion of the OGE Form 450 
easier overall by simplifying the instructions and placing them on the 
same pages as the reporting schedules; adding space for reporting 
information; enlarging the font size; and separating reporting 
schedules for earned and investment income. Contacting filers with 
follow-up questions will be facilitated by the addition of space for 
the filer's e-mail address.
    Modifications to the content of the OGE Form 450 parallel changes 
being proposed to 5 CFR part 2634. See the proposed rule being 
published concurrently in the Federal Register with this notice. Under 
both the current and proposed rule, the information required to be 
collected includes assets and sources of income, liabilities, outside 
positions, employment agreements and arrangements, and gifts and travel 
reimbursements, subject to certain thresholds and exclusions.
    The proposed modifications to the OGE Form 450 reflect the changes 
in the confidential financial disclosure regulation if adopted as 
final. Generally, these changes to the information that will have to 
reported on the OGE Form 450 include: Eliminating the reporting of 
diversified mutual funds, eliminating dates of honoraria, eliminating 
dates of agreements and arrangements (other than those for future 
employment), and eliminating the reporting of types of income that 
assets earned (i.e., dividends, capital gains, or interest), and 
revising reporting requirements relating to liabilities by eliminating 
the requirement to report student loans, mortgages on rental property, 
and credit card debt if the loans are granted on terms made available 
to the general public.
    Also, OGE is proposing to incorporate in the modified OGE Form 450 
the new aggregation threshold of more than $305 for the reporting of 
gifts and travel reimbursements received from one source during the 
year by regular employee annual filers, with an exception for any items 
valued at $122 or less that are not counted toward the overall 
threshold. These new thresholds are based on the General Services 
Administration's (GSA's) increase in ``minimal value'' under the 
Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act to $305 or less for 2005-2007, to 
which the thresholds are linked by the Ethics Act and OGE regulation. 
See GSA's redefinition at 70 FR 2317-2318 (January 12, 2005), section 
102(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Ethics Act, OGE's regulatory adjustment of 
the gifts/reimbursements thresholds for both public and confidential 
reports at 70 FR 12111-12112 (March 11, 2005), and OGE DAEOgram DO-05-
007 of March 17, 2005, all available on OGE's Web site at http://www.usoge.gov.
    Finally, OGE is updating the Privacy Act Statement summary of the 
sixth listed routine use (see 68 FR 3097-3109, at 3102 (January 22, 

Web Site Distribution of Blank Forms

    OGE will continue to make the OGE Form 450 available to departments 
and agencies and their reporting employees through the Forms, 
Publications & Other Ethics Documents section of OGE's Web site (http://www.usoge.gov). This method allows employees to prepare and save their 
report on a computer, although a printout and manual signature of the 
form are still required unless specifically approved otherwise by OGE.

Effect on Use of Alternative Reports and OGE Optional Form 450-A

    Since 1992, various departments and agencies have developed, with 
OGE review/approval, alternative reporting formats such as certificates 
of no conflict for certain classes of employees. Other agencies provide 
for additional disclosures pursuant to independent organic statutes and 
in certain other circumstances when authorized by OGE. In 1997, OGE 
itself developed the new OGE Optional Form 450-A (Confidential 
Certificate of No New Interests (Executive Branch)) for possible agency 
and employee use in certain years, if applicable. That optional form 
continues in use at various agencies. However, the OGE Form 450 remains 
the uniform executive branch report form for most of those executive 
branch employees required by their agencies to report confidentially on 
their financial interests.

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Reporting Individuals

    The OGE Form 450 is to be filed by each reporting individual with 
the designated agency ethics official at the executive department or 
agency where he or she is or will be employed. Reporting individuals 
are regular employees whose positions have been designated by their 
agency under 5 CFR 2634.904 as requiring confidential financial 
disclosure in order to help avoid conflicts with their assigned 
responsibilities. Under that section, all special Government employees 
(SGE) are also generally required to file. Agencies may, if appropriate 
under the OGE regulation, exclude certain regular employees or SGEs as 
provided in 5 CFR 2634.905. (This citation appears as 5 CFR 2634.904(b) 
in the proposed rule issued concurrently with this notice.) Reports are 
normally required to be filed within 30 days of entering a covered 
position (or earlier if required by the agency concerned), and again 
annually if the employee serves for more than 60 days in the position.
    Most of the persons who file this report are current executive 
branch Government employees at the time they complete their report. 
However, some filers are private citizens who are asked by their 
prospective agency to file a new entrant report prior to entering 
Government service in order to permit advance checking for any 
potential conflicts of interest and resolution thereof by agreement to 
recuse or divest, obtaining of a waiver, etc.

Reporting Burden

    Based on OGE's annual agency ethics program questionnaire responses 
for 2002 through 2004, OGE estimates that an average of approximately 
277,215 OGE Form 450 reports will be filed each year for the next three 
years throughout the executive branch. This estimate is based on the 
number of reports filed branchwide for 2002 through 2004 (272,755 in 
2002, and 263,463 in 2003, and 295,426 in 2004) for a total of 831,644, 
with that number then divided by three and rounded, to give the 
projected annual average of 277,215 reports. Of these reports, OGE 
estimates that 7.6 percent, or some 21,068 per year, will be filed by 
private citizens. Private citizen filers are those potential (incoming) 
regular employees whose positions are designated for confidential 
disclosure filing as well as potential special Government employees 
whose agencies require that they file their new entrant reports prior 
to assuming Government responsibilities. No termination reports are 
required for the OGE Form 450.
    Each filing is estimated to take an average of one and one-half 
hours to complete. This yields an annual reporting burden of 31,602 
hours, an increase of 31,587 hours compared to 15 hours (OGE's current 
OMB inventory) for this information collection. The current burden 
hours account for private citizen filers whose reports were filed each 
year only with OGE itself. (In the past, the number of private citizens 
whose reports were filed each year with OGE itself was less than 10, 
but pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.3(c)(4)(i), the lower limit for this general 
regulatory-based requirement is set at 10 private persons. Thus, OGE 
reported the current annual burden of 15 hours.) The proposed estimate 
of burden hours includes private citizen reports filed with departments 
and agencies throughout the executive branch (including OGE).

Consideration of Comments

    As noted, public comment is invited on the proposed modified OGE 
Form 450 as set forth in this notice. In accordance with the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), public comments are 
invited specifically on the need for and practical utility of this 
proposed modified collection of information, the accuracy of OGE's 
burden estimate, the enhancement of quality, utility and clarity of the 
information collected, and the minimization of burden (including the 
use of information technology).
    The Office of Government Ethics is planning to submit to OMB, after 
this notice and comment period, a modified OGE Form 450 for three-year 
extension of approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Comments 
received in response to this notice will be summarized for, and may be 
included with, OGE's future request for OMB paperwork approval for the 
proposed modified OGE Form 450. Any comments received will also become 
a matter of public record. After reviewing any comments and deciding on 
the proposed modifications to the OGE Form 450, OGE will publish a 
second paperwork notice in the Federal Register to inform the agencies 
and the public at the time it submits the request for OMB paperwork 
    In addition, OGE invites comments on the changes to the OGE Form 
450 that are intended to make it easier for filers to complete. 
Comments regarding the changes to the content of the form, i.e., the 
information to be reported, should be made in response to the proposed 
financial disclosure rule being published concurrently in the Federal 
Register with this notice.

    Approved: August 5, 2005.
Marilyn L. Glynn,
General Counsel, Office of Government Ethics.
[FR Doc. 05-15926 Filed 8-11-05; 8:45 am]