Congress has enacted post-government employment restrictions and foreign agent registration requirements with the objectives of protecting the U.S. government against the improper use of government information by former federal employees and ensuring the American people know the identity of persons trying to influence U.S. government policy in the United States on behalf of foreign entities. This report discusses (1) the extent to which selected agencies have information on the post-government employment activities of former senior federal employees who represent foreign principals and (2) the challenges the agencies face in enforcing these requirements. We reviewed federal ethics guidance, laws, and other documents, and interviewed officials at the Departments of State and the Treasury, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Trade Representative.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|To enhance Justice's ability to ensure that the American people know the identity of persons trying to influence U.S. government policy in the United States on behalf of foreign entities, Congress may wish to consider (1) granting the Department of Justice civil investigative demand authority to inspect records of persons Justice believes should be registered as foreign agents and (2) requiring persons claiming certain exemptions to provide advance written notification to Justice before engaging in the exempt activities.||Congress did not take any action in response to this matter.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Government Ethics||1. To enhance executive branch enforcement of the post-government employment restrictions, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics should strongly encourage agency ethics officials to implement the suggested actions described in the November 2005 OGE memorandum and its subsequent 2008 reminder to designated agency officials on documenting ethics advice, and also encourage agency ethics officials to work closely with their Inspectors General to ensure that this information is shared when needed.|