Ethics rules during a shutdown
As federal employees — furloughed or not — you're still governed by the provisions set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct [PDF] as well as the Hatch Act and other federal laws.
The Office of Government Ethics has issued helpful guidance [PDF] for employees during a lapse in appropriations. Considerations include:
- You cannot receive compensation for teaching, speaking, or writing that relates to your official duties.
- You cannot represent another person before any federal agency, department, or court except for yourself, spouse, parents, and children (18 U.S.C. 205).
- You cannot receive compensation from anyone else for their representational services before any federal agency, department, or court that is provided by another, including an employer (18 U.S.C. 203).
- You cannot use your public office (for example, your official title, or GSA position) for private gain or to imply the government sanctions or endorses your personal activities or those of another.
- The rules for gifts from outside sources and gifts between employees still apply.
- The Hatch Act rules [PDF] still apply.
- The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, the GSA Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct, as well as the conflict of interest statutes [PDF] still apply.
GSA’s Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct further require:
- When seeking outside employment, no prior approval is required if not intending to work for a prohibited source. A prohibited source is any person or entity who:
- Does business with, or seeks to do business with GSA.
- Seeks some official action by GSA.
- Has activities regulated by GSA.
- Has interests that may be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of your official duties.
- Is an organization where a majority of their members are prohibited sources.
- If you’re seeking outside employment with a prohibited source, you must receive prior written approval prior written approval from your supervisor.
- If you’re substantially involved in the acquisition or disposal of real estate at GSA and are directly or indirectly involved in the purchase of real estate in your personal capacity, please see GSA’s Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct and consult with an ethics counselor for additional support (5 C.F.R. 6701.104).
You must refer all media inquiries regarding your official capacity, or GSA business, including speaking engagements, to the GSA Media Affairs team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or your Regional Public Affairs Officer if you’re located in a regional office.
If you have any questions about your ethical obligations during the government shutdown, please contact email@example.com or your regional counsel.
Find general furlough information in the OPM’s Pay & Leave Furlough Guidance.