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The Ethics Pledge
By Executive Order 13490 dated January 21, 2009, Federal Employees within the Executive Branch of the government who have been appointed since January 20, 2009, are required to sign an ethics pledge.  The Ethics Pledge contains seven provisions, including a ban on receiving gifts from lobbyists and restrictions on activities related to former employers and on future employment after leaving Federal service.  
Who signs the Ethics Pledge?

Political appointees, who have been appointed since January 20, 2009 must sign the pledge.  This includes:

  • full-time, non-career Presidential or Vice-Presidential appointee

  • non-career appointee in the Senior Executive Service (or other SES-type system), and

  • appointee to a position that has been excepted from the competitive service by reason of being of a confidential or policymaking character (Schedule C and other positions excepted under comparable criteria) in an executive agency. 

Please review OGE’s DAEOgram  for information regarding who is required to sign the Ethics Pledge.  

Effects of the Ethics Pledge on Political Appointee Activity

Lobbyist Gift Ban

Political appointees  agree not to “accept gifts from registered lobbyists or lobbying organizations for the duration of [his/her] service as an appointee.” There are a number of exceptions regarding this rule that can be reviewed in an OGE DAEOgram on the issue.

Revolving Door Ban

The Pledge requires that an appointee not, for a period of two years following the appointment, participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to his or her former employer or former clients, including regulation and contracts. OGE has provided detailed guidance on the applicability of this restriction in a DAEOgram on the issue.

 Post-Employment Rules

  • “Cooling Off” Period- The Pledge extends the “cooling off” period found in the post-employment statute at 18 U.S.C. §207(c) from one to two years for appointees who are senior employees.

  • Lobbying Ban- The Pledge requires all appointees to agree not to lobby any covered executive branch official or non-career Senior Executive Service appointee for the remainder of the Administration. This ban restricts a former appointee from lobbying certain officials throughout the entire Executive Branch, not just officials of the agency where the former appointee actually served. It does not prohibit lobbying members of the Legislative Branch.

 OGE has issued a DAEOgram that covers issues regarding both the “cooling off” period and lobbying ban.