Ethics and accountability
Office of Government Ethics
The process of a presidential transition is a monumental undertaking. In just over ten weeks between the election and the inauguration, a president-elect must prepare to take control of an executive branch that comprises over 140 agencies, hundreds of sub-components, and millions of civilian and uniformed personnel. OGE plays a crucial role in presidential transitions by reviewing the financial disclosure reports of potential presidential nominees and resolving possible conflicts of interest, ensuring their ability to serve with integrity. During a transition, when the majority of top political leadership in the executive branch changes, OGE shifts its primary focus to reviewing nominee financial disclosures. OGE collaborates with any presidential transition team to verify that prospective nominees are free of conflicts of interest, expediting the appointment of top leadership positions.OGE plays a crucial role in the presidential appointments process by reviewing the financial disclosure reports of potential presidential nominees and resolving possible conflicts of interest, ensuring their ability to serve with integrity. During a transition or a second term, when the majority of top political leadership in the executive branch changes, OGE shifts its primary focus to reviewing nominee financial disclosures. OGE collaborates with any presidential transition team or second term Administration to verify that prospective nominees are free of conflicts of interest, expediting the appointment of top leadership positions.
OGE transition resources
OGE’s website features a presidential transition page for presidential campaigns, future presidential transition teams, incoming presidential nominees, the public, and the media. Based on OGE’s experience with the nominee process, OGE has developed critical resources that will help ensure that a transition is as smooth and effective as possible. These resources include but are not limited to:
- The Presidential Transition Guide [PDF]
This guide explains the nominee ethics process, provides strategies for establishing a strong ethical culture in a presidential administration, and includes useful reference materials.
- Guide for Nominees [PDF]
This guide serves as a resource for individuals who may become presidential nominees. It is structured to assist nominees throughout their journey as they prepare to serve in presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed (PAS) positions.
INTEGRITY is OGE’s electronic system used to file nominee public financial disclosure reports.
- The (unofficial) Excel workbook of PAS nominee positions subject to OGE financial disclosure review [PDF]
This workbook lists the positions traditionally subject to OGE’s review in the nomination process.
OGE ethics education resources
Ethics education serves as a crucial tool in aiding transition teams, agencies, and incoming officials in managing and mitigating the risk of ethical challenges.OGE offers a range of resources for these audiences that can be tailored so new appointees can serve with integrity:
Ethical Service Handbook for Executive Branch Employees [PDF]
The Ethical Service Handbook for Executive Branch Employees provides new executive branch employees with an introduction to the fundamental ethical obligations of public service. The content is organized around three expectations of ethical service: awareness, engagement, and accountability. This handbook includes space for agency-specific content, and OGE encourages agencies to edit the booklet in order to highlight key ethics issues relevant to the work that their employees perform.
Summary of the Conflict of Interest Laws [PDF]
The conflict of interest laws are an additional set of laws that address the conduct of executive branch employees. These laws are particularly important because they carry criminal penalties. This document provides employees with a summary of the conflict of interest laws as well as illustrative examples.
The Fourteen General Principles of Ethical Conduct [PDF]
The General Principles of Ethical Conduct apply to every executive branch employee and form the basis of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. This document provides employees with a list of the Fourteen General Principles of Ethical Conduct.
- Summary of the Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch [PDF]
The Standards of Ethical Conduct, which implement the Fourteen General Principles of Ethical Conduct, are specific and enforceable rules that apply to executive branch employees’ conduct. The Standards ensure consistency and fairness in the way similar ethics issues are dealt with across the executive branch. This document provides employees with a summary of the Standards of Conduct as well as illustrative examples.
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office, often referred to as the "investigative arm of Congress" or the "congressional watchdog," is an independent, nonpartisan agency within the Legislative branch. GAO's primary responsibility is examining how the government allocates federal funds, ensuring transparency and accountability in government spending. It serves as a valuable resource to new administrations, as outlined in the Presidential Transition Act, providing briefings and materials that inform them about critical management issues, risks, and challenges. GAO's mission is to offer Congress objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, and balanced information to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.