Agency Compartmentalizations and Senior Employee Designations Under the Ethics in Government Act

T-GGD-87-21: Published: Jun 25, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO discussed agency compartmentalization and senior employee designation under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which prohibits former senior-level employees from contacting their former agencies on particular matters for 1 year after their employment ceases. The act authorized the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to designate certain positions as senior level, and statutory and nonstatutory subagencies or bureaus as separate components for purposes of the 1-year restriction. GAO found that OGE: (1) notified Congress of a difference in the coverage of the statutory and nonstatutory provisions; (2) established its own designation criteria; (3) relied on agencies to request component designation; (4) did not document its procedures for reviewing agency requests for compartmentalization designation; and (5) published inaccurate lists of designations. GAO: (1) noted that the OGE compartmentalization of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) into nine separate entities for purposes of the 1-year no-contact restriction did not include any explanatory analysis; and (2) questioned whether OGE could make a meaningful determination of the separability of EOP component functions solely on the basis of a review of underlying statutory authority.

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