Post Employment - Ethics

Once a federal employee seeks non-federal employment, they must immediately recuse from participation in any official matter that involves the prospective employer as an identified party, including:

  • a grant,
  • contracts,
  • applications,
  • audits,
  • investigations
  • lawsuits

The recusal must extend to any matter of general applicability that affects the discrete industry, economic sector, or other defined class of organizations in which the prospective employer operates; such as a legislative initiative, regulatory proposal, or policy determination that affects the prospective employer as a member of such class.   See 5 CFR Part 2635, Subpart F.

OGE 278 filers must notify an agency ethics official within three business days after beginning any negotiation for subsequent employment or compensation with a non-federal entity.

Former employees are subject to the provisions described below.  Former government attorneys and public officials with a law license are subject to additional post-employment restrictions under State Rules of Professional Conduct.

Restrictions Applicable to All Employees

  • 18 US Code 207(a)(1) Permanent Ban on Switching Sides.  Former employees are subject to a lifetime ban on communicating to or appearing before the Government on behalf of their new employer or anyone else regarding specific party matters in which they participated personally and substantially during their entire government service.
  • 18 U S C ode 207(a)(2) Two-Y ear Official Responsibility Provision.  For two years after leaving federal employment, former employees cannot make representational communications to or appearances before the Government regarding specific party matters that were pending under their official responsibility during their last year of government service.
  • 18 U S C ode 207(b) One-Year Ban on Trade or Treaty Negotiation Activities.  Former employees who participated in ongoing trade or treaty negotiations on behalf of the United States within the year preceding their departure cannot, for one year, represent, aid, or advise anyone based on information exempt from disclosure to which the employees had access.
  • 18 US Code 203 Compensation Limitation.  Former employees who join a law, accounting, or government relations firm cannot share in any bonus, profit sharing, or similar compensation derived from fees earned by the employee’s new firm or partnership for representational services before the Government that were rendered during the former employee’s period of government service.
  • 41 US Code 2102 Disclosure of Procurement Information.  Former employees cannot knowingly disclose contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information to anyone not authorized to receive such information.
  • 41 US Code 2104 One-Year Ban on Contractor Compensation.  Employees who worked on a contract in excess of $10 million cannot accept compensation from that contractor within one year after the employee: (1) served as the procuring contracting officer, source selection authority or evaluation board member, or chief of a financial or technical evaluation team; (2) served as a program manager, deputy program manager, or administrative contracting officer; or (3) personally made certain decisions such as awarding a contract, subcontract, modification, task or delivery order, establishing overhead, issuing payment, or settling a claim.
  • 45 CFR Part 2 Testimony and Production of Documents in Proceedings w here the United States is Not a Party.  Former employees cannot provide testimony or produce documents in a federal, state, local, or tribal judicial or administrative proceeding (or a state, local, or tribal legislative hearing) concerning information acquired during the course of their official duties or because of their former government position, unless authorized by the head of their respective OPDIV or, if a former employee of OS, the ASA. This requirement applies to requested or subpoenaed oral statements before a court or an adjudicative or investigatory body, as well as statements made in depositions, interrogatories, declarations, affidavits, or other formal participation.

Restrictions Applicable Only to Senior Employees

Executive Levels II through V; Uniformed Service Pay Grades O -7 or above; SES and Employees in other Pay System s with an Annual R ate of Basic Pay (Excluding Locality-Based Adjustments) at or above $160,111.50 effective 2016.

  • 18 US Code 207(c) One-Year “Cooling-Off” Period. Former employees cannot, for one year after completing service in a “senior” position, knowingly make, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any officer or employee of their former agency on behalf of anyone seeking official action.  Except for Senate confirmed Presidential appointees, who are prohibited from contacting the entire Department, “former agency” means the OPDIV where the employee worked (or OS, if employed in a STAFFDIV).

Note :  Cabinet officers paid at Executive Level I, known as “very senior employees,” are subject to an additional two-year restriction that precludes representational contact to the appointee’s former department, as well as to any Presidential appointee in the entire Executive Branch and any employee paid at Executive Levels I-V.

Page last reviewed: June 9, 2016