Most members of federal advisory committees are appointed as special government employees (SGEs) and serve as federal employees for up to 130 days in any given year. SGEs, like all Executive Branch employees, are subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct issued under the Ethics Reform Act of 1989. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) requires that members must receive ethics training each year and must submit annual financial disclosure reports before they can meet to render advice or recommendations to the government. These requirements ensure that advice, guidance, and recommendations rendered by federal advisory committees are free of actual and apparent conflicts of interest. For more information, review the summary of ethics rules that apply to SGE advisory committee members.
CDC’s Committee Management Officer has day-to-day responsibility to oversee ethics-related activity for CDC’s advisory committee members, including the rigorous review and conflict of interest analysis process for advisory committee members’ financial disclosure reports. We are also responsible for providing initial and annual ethics training for SGE committee members. OGE has the authority and the responsibility to regulate ethics-related activity for the entire Executive Branch.
Members of peer review committees (also known as initial review groups (IRGs)) are not appointed as SGEs and therefore are not subject to the same disclosure requirements. However, under HHS and CDC rules members of IRGs are required to disclose conflicts of interest, and to provide assurance that they are free of conflicts of interest, before they may participate at each peer review meeting.
Some CDC employees who are fulltime federal employees are also required to provide annual confidential financial disclosure, to ensure their personal financial interests and outside activities do not conflict with their official duties. CDC’s Ethics Program Office has responsibility for this requirement.
Visit Laws and Regulations for a collection of the conflict of interest laws and regulations as well as links to access the forms required of SGEs.
The DHHS Office of the General Counsel is another useful source of information.
To ensure that every citizen has complete confidence in the integrity of the federal government and its advisory committees, each SGE shall respect and adhere to the principles of ethical conduct. Each SGE appointed to serve on a CDC federal advisory committee assumes a responsibility to the United States and its citizens to place loyalty to the Constitution, laws, and ethical principles above private gain. The training materials designated for this year’s annual training will provide you with clear standards and guidelines to assist you in meeting your responsibility as an SGE.
Please review the items listed below. Once you have reviewed this material, you will have completed your Annual Ethics Training, as required by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
- Ethics Training for Special Government Employees
- Ethics Rules for Advisory Committee Members and Other Individuals Appointed as Special Government Employees (SGEs), an 11-page summary prepared by the HHS OGC Ethics Division
- Standards of Ethical Conduct – Summary for Executive Branch Employees, a 32-page booklet prepared by OGE
- The Ethical Choice: Ethics for Special Government Employees, a 20 minute video created by OGE in 2008
- Criminal Conflict of Interest Laws: Summary for Executive Branch Employees, a 28- page booklet prepared by OGE
- Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct and Supplemental Financial Disclosure Requirements for Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, Codified in 5 C.F.R. Parts 5501 and 5502
- Synopsis of HHS Supplemental Standards of Conduct, a 12-page summary prepared by the HHS OGC Ethics Division
- Overview of the Ethics Rules for Special Government Employees Serving on Advisory Committees, a brochure prepared by the HHS OGC Ethics Division
- Ethics Laws Applicable to Special Government Employees, a chart prepared by OGE in 2021
- Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees, listed in Executive Order 12731 (October 17, 1990), and 5 C.F.R. § 2635.101
If you have ethics questions or concerns that relate to your specific situation or the committee on which you serve, please contact the designated federal officer for your committee or the Ethics and Financial Disclosure Team at SGEEthics@cdc.gov.
If you have a need to contact the ethics officials within HHS, see the HHS list of Agency Deputy Ethics Counselors and Ethics Coordinators.