The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is committed to addressing the critical challenges facing the developing world today with integrity. The agency seeks to avoid situations in which an ethical question may cause uncertainty about the agency’s impact and mission by adherence to the regulations and guidance of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). In addition to these important guideposts, the agency also has internal policies to avoid and address potential conflicts of interest and is publishing them here in accordance with 22 U.S.C. § 9613(h)(3)(C).
- Who must file a financial disclosure?
Financial disclosures are an important tool in avoiding conflicts of interest and remind both the individual and the Ethics Office about that individual’s interests so that both are better equipped to avoid conflicts. There are two types of financial disclosure filings—Public Financial Disclosures, also known as the OGE278, and Confidential Financial Disclosures, also known as the OGE450. They are governed by 5 C.F.R. § 2634.
Public Financial Disclosure: The following categories of persons are required to file public financial disclosure reports:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Executive Vice President
- Vice Presidents
- Employees, including Special Government Employees, in positions that are excepted from the competitive service by reason of being of a confidential or policy-making character, unless the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) has determined that they are exempt from filing a public financial disclosure because they do not have a substantial policymaking role with respect to agency programs and are paid below a certain rate in accordance with 5 CFR 2634.303(b).
- Any employee not otherwise described above whose position is classified above GS-15 of the General Schedule, or if not paid under the General Schedule, at a rate equal to or greater than 120% of the minimum rate of basic pay for GS-15 of the General Schedule.
- The Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO)
- Any employee whose position is designated as a public disclosure filer position.
- If an employee occupies a filing position but is not reasonably expected to perform the duties of the office or position for more than 60 calendar days in any calendar year, he shall not be required to file a public financial disclosure.
Confidential Financial Disclosure: The following categories of employees are required to file annual confidential financial disclosure reports.
- Any employee whose position is classified at GS-15 or below of the General Schedule, or if not paid under the General Schedule, at a rate which is less than 120% of the minimum rate of basic pay for GS-15 of the General Schedule, and whose position’s duties and responsibilities require the employee to participate personally and substantially through decision or the exercise of significant judgment, and without substantial supervision and review, in taking official action regarding:
- Contracting or procurement;
- Administering or monitoring grants, subsidies, licenses, or other federally conferred financial or operational benefits;
- Other activities in which the final decision or action will have a direct and substantial economic effect on the interests of any non-Federal entity; or
- Members of the Corporation’s board of directors
- What is the financial disclosure process?
The DAEO is responsible for establishing and maintaining a system for filing, reviewing, approving, and retaining financial disclosure reports that complies with the requirements of the Office of Government Ethics. The DAEO determines which positions require disclosure filing and maintains lists of the positions in conjunction with the Department of Human Resources Management.
- The DAEO will provide filers with information on how to file financial disclosures.
- The contents, procedures, deadlines, and other requirements for financial disclosure filing are governed by federal regulations established by the OGE.
- Annual confidential financial disclosure reports must be filed no later than February 15 of each year unless an extension is granted by the DAEO.
- Annual public financial disclosure reports must be filed no later than May 15 of each year unless an extension is granted by the DAEO.
- New entrant confidential financial disclosure reports and public financial disclosure reports are due by the thirtieth calendar day of employment unless an extension is granted by the DAEO.
- Additional Requirements for Public Financial Disclosure Filers
Public financial disclosure filers are also required to file a written notification statement with the DAEO within three business days after commencing negotiations or entering into an agreement with a non-USG entity to accept post-DFC employment or compensation.
Public financial disclosure filers must execute a written recusal from participation in any particular matter that would have a direct and predictable effect on the financial interest of an entity with whom they are negotiating or have entered into an agreement for employment.
Public financial disclosure filers are required to file monthly transaction disclosure reports for months in which they have a qualifying transaction.
In accordance with the law and applicable regulations, DFC is required to make public financial disclosure reports available to the public upon request. A request must be in writing and must comply with the requirements of 5 CFR 2634.603.
On or before the thirtieth day after termination of employment in a public financial disclosure filing position, the former employee is required to file a termination public financial disclosure report. The DAEO may grant extensions to the filing period.
- What ethics rules are DFC's federal employees subject to?
- DFC’s federal employees are covered by the criminal conflict of interest statutes (18 U.S.C. 201-209, 5 C.F.R. Part 2640), the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (5 C.F.R. Part 2635) the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation regarding outside activities (5 C.F.R. 4301.101), and the Principles of Ethical Conduct.
- How will DFC analyze any potential conflicts of interest if they arise?
Potential conflicts of interest can arise in many different ways and each type of potential conflict must be analyzed individually. The Corporation follows the Office of Government Ethics guidance when reviewing a particular situation. OGE’s guidance is available at: OGE Potential Conflicts of Interest Analysis Guidance. Employees and prospective employees with questions about conflicts of interest should contact the Ethics Office to discuss.
- What information is provided to DFC employees about their ethics obligations, including conflicts of interest?
All DFC employees undergo Initial Ethics Training during their onboarding orientation, during which financial conflicts of interest, impartiality conflicts of interest, gifts, and misuse of position are discussed. DFC employees are provided annual ethics training to refresh these topics and to address other topics of frequent inquiry. DFC also provides employees with a copy of the Corporation’s Ethics Handbook and Ethics Officers periodically remind staff that any ethics questions can and should be brought to the Ethics Office at any time.
- Are Members of the Development Advisory Council subject to the Ethics policies of employees?
Members of the Corporation’s Development Advisory Council are not government employees or Special Government Employees (SGE) and serve as “representatives” as defined by OGE Informal Advisory Opinion 82 x 22. Although the Council is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), codified at 5 U.S.C. app. 2, OGE’s advice on Advisory Committee Members provides guidance on distinguishing between an advisory committee member who serves as a representative and one who serves as an SGE.
Development Advisory Council members advise the Corporation on general development objectives and also how the Corporation is meeting its development mandate including any suggestions for improvements with respect to meeting that mandate, including opportunities in countries and project development and implementation challenges and opportunities.
Council members do not review individual transactions of the Corporation and are not subject to the Conflict of Interest policies or ethics filings requirements for executive branch employees or the Corporation’s Board of Directors. However, Council members shall endeavor to remain impartial when advising in their role as Committee members while bringing forth their perspectives of the organizations or stakeholders they represent.