Ethics:

The Department of Justice's Ethics Program

GGD-88-112BR: Published: Jul 19, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1988.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Bernard L. Ungar
(202) 512-4232
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Ethics Program to determine whether the program complied with statutory requirements and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations.

GAO found that: (1) although the program generally complied with Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requirements, DOJ did not periodically evaluate it or provide training for all of its departments; (2) program implementation procedures varied because DOJ gave each department considerable discretion in administering the program; and (3) DOJ developed standards of conduct for current and former employees and disciplinary measures for unethical conduct. GAO also found that DOJ: (1) did not implement a requirement that it maintain status reports on all employees required to file public financial disclosure reports; (2) was the only agency that did not require its employees to file confidential financial reports because it believed that it lacked legal authority to require such reports; (3) seldom identified conflicts of interest requiring remedial actions from its reviews of disclosure statements; and (4) failed to require departmentwide ethics training for its employees.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Justice has taken the actions recommended completing an evaluation of its ethics program and hiring a management analyst to do evaluations in the future.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should periodically evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of the DOJ standards-of-conduct regulations, financial disclosure system, and postemployment enforcement system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As GAO recommended, Justice initiated an evaluation of its ethics program and standards-of-conduct regulations on October 7, 1988. In line with the recommendation, Justice also hired a management analyst to serve as a catalyst and resource for ethics training in Justice.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should evaluate, in cooperation with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the ethics education program to improve the training DOJ employees receive in ethics and standards-of-conduct matters, including postemployment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Justice agreed to review its policy on referral opinions to OGE with a view toward identifying the types of opinions that it should and should not refer. GAO does not anticipate any further action by Justice to refer opinions to OGE because of a reluctance by Justice and OGE to publicize opinions.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require DOJ components to provide copies of written opinions on ethics matters to OGE in accordance with OPM regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 23, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 30, 2016

Aug 11, 2016

Jul 22, 2016

Jul 21, 2016

Jul 6, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here