The District of Columbia Should Establish a Separate Office of Ethics

FPCD-79-65: Published: Aug 16, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1979.

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The financial disclosure systems for District of Columbia Government employees are administered by two offices, the District Board of Elections and Ethics and the District Personnel Office. The financial disclosure systems of the District Government must ensure that personal financial interests of its employees do not conflict with their official duties.

The Board administers the financial disclosure system for high-level District officials; however, because the Board is understaffed and gives priority to District elections, it has not been able to determine whether all the required statements have been filed for past years. The Personnel Office administers financial disclosure systems for District agencies, but due to a shortage of staff it has not monitored the systems for many years. GAO found that: (1) statements were not filed, were filed late, or were inadequately completed; (2) not all employees in sensitive positions were required to file statements; and (3) statements were not adequately reviewed, and criteria did not exist for determining conflicts of interest. There also appeared to be instances where agency officials should have questioned information disclosed on the statements in the Department of Human Resources. Recent legislation may remedy some, but not all, of the deficiencies.

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