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Conflicting Financial Interests

Executive branch employees are prohibited by a Federal criminal statute from participating personally and substantially in a particular matter that will affect certain financial interests. Those include the financial interests of --

  • the employee
  • the employee's spouse or minor child
  • the employee's general partner
  • an organization in which the employee serves as an officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, and
  • a person with whom the employee is negotiating for or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment.

There are a number of ways in which an employee may deal with a potential conflict of interest. The employee may simply not participate in the matter that would pose the conflict. This is called "recusal." The employee may also obtain a waiver from the agency, sell off or "divest" the conflicting interest, or resign from the conflicting position. Which remedy is appropriate will depend upon the particular circumstances.

Agencies, may by supplemental regulation, prohibit or restrict the holding of certain financial interests by all agency employees or a group of employees, and a few extend such restrictions to the employee's spouse and minor children.

Reference: 18 U.S.C. § 208; 5 C.F.R. § § 2635.401-403.

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  • Page last reviewed: May 12, 2009
  • Page last updated: May 12, 2009
  • Content source: CDC and ATSDR Ethics Program
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