Issues Related to the Office of Government Ethics

T-GGD-88-29: Published: Apr 13, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Office of Government Ethics' (OGE) reauthorization beyond September 1988. GAO found that: (1) OGE plays a critical role in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of federal officials and employees; (2) although agency ethics officials believe that ethics regulations are helpful, most regulations need either clarification or revision; (3) most conflict-of-interest regulations deal with former employees, rather than current employees; (4) although OGE did not always review individuals' financial disclosure forms and agencies' ethics programs as quickly as required, it dedicated such reviews to special groups to improve its overall timeliness; (5) staff restrictions limited OGE review of agencies' financial disclosure systems and ethics programs; (6) although OGE has the authority to order corrective actions, it cannot enforce them; and (7) the upcoming presidential transition is likely to further strain OGE abilities to review disclosure forms and to continue its regular oversight and advisory programs. GAO believes that Congress may wish to reauthorize OGE in order to promote and maintain ethical conduct in the federal government.

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