Conflict-of-Interest Controls:

Documented Recusal Obligations of Top Political Appointees in DOE and EPA

GGD-95-81FS: Published: Mar 7, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 7, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency political appointees' promises to disqualify themselves from certain regulatory matters to avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest.

GAO found that: (1) various statutes, executive orders, and federal regulations govern political appointees' recusal from regulatory matters in which they may have an interest; (2) 76 percent of the appointees it reviewed made documented recusal obligations as a result of the nomination and confirmation process; (3) the most commonly cited basis for recusal obligations was the criminal conflict-of-interest statute, and various appearance-based obligations accounted for the remainder; and (4) most of the appearance-based obligations were grounded in specific agency or Office of Government Ethics recusal requirements.

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