The President's Ethics Proposals

T-GGD-89-29: Published: Jun 13, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 1989.

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GAO discussed the President's proposals for ethics reform in H.R. 2337 and S. 765. GAO found that the bills would: (1) impose essentially the same system for reporting and review of financial interests on all three branches of the federal government; (2) require financial reporting of actual value rounded to the nearest thousand dollars, although the Ethics Committee recommended retention of reporting by category value; (3) require public reporting for career officials above the GS-16 level, but would not address consistency in confidential reporting among the three branches; (4) extend employment restrictions to the legislative and judicial branches; (5) not specify some of the classes of non-public information protected from disclosure; (6) allow the Office of Government Ethics to designate additional categories of information for nondisclosure; (7) repeal laws prohibiting certain post-government employment with defense contractors; (8) establish civil and misdemeanor penalties for violations of conflict-of-interest statutes; (9) did not govern agencies' administration of compartmentalization; and (10) allow GAO access to only public financial disclosure reports. GAO believes that Congress: (1) may need to scrutinize the review aspects, since the legislative and judicial branches do not have the same supervisory hierarchy as the executive branch; (2) should consider any additional categories and establish them by legislation; (3) may wish to consider extending similar post-government employment prohibitions to other agencies; and (4) should retain full GAO access authority.

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