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Following McDonnell, Executive Branch Ethics and Integrity Standards Remain Strong and Effective

July 18, 2016

On July 18, OGE issued a Legal Advisory emphasizing that the general prohibitions on executive branch employees’ soliciting and accepting gifts from outside sources are unaffected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision, McDonnell v. United States. Executive branch employees, from the scientists and inspectors who ensure the safety of our food supply to the men and women who enforce our federal laws, are bound by a rigorous and effective set of laws, regulations, and policies that prevent improper gifts, conflicts of interest, and other ethics concerns.

Unchanged by the McDonnell decision are the restrictions on gifts from outside sources, prohibitions on conflicts of interest, and prohibitions on using public office for the private gain. 

Ensuring that citizens can trust their government is a mission shared by all public officials. The Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch and associated laws and policies set some of the most stringent standards for ethics and integrity of those of any workforce. Today, those standards remain strong and effective.