DATE: January 12, 2009
ADMINISTRATIVE EDIT: March 13, 2019
SUBJECT: Designating Employment Status of Advisory Committee Members
- PURPOSE. This directive requires Treasury bureaus or offices seeking to establish a new advisory committee, or seeking to appoint, renew, or invite an individual member to serve on a new or existing advisory committee, to consult their ethics officials to ensure compliance with Executive Branch ethics statutes and regulations, and requires ethics officials to make determinations of the employment status of advisory committee members for ethics purposes.
- SCOPE. This directive applies to all Department of the Treasury bureaus, offices, and organizations, including the offices of inspectors general. The provisions of this directive shall not be construed to interfere with or impede the authorities or independence of the Department's inspectors general.
- DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this directive only:
- Advisory Committee means any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group that is established by statute, or established or used by a Government official, for the purpose of obtaining advice or recommendations for the Government or on issues or policies within the scope of a Government official's responsibilities. Advisory Committees include, but are not limited to, committees governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (Pub. L. No. 92-463, codified at 5 USC App.).
- Bureau includes the Departmental Offices (DO), the Treasury bureaus, and the offices of inspectors general.
- Committee Member is an individual who serves by appointment or invitation on an Advisory Committee or subcommittee.
- The Designated Deciding Official (DDO) is the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) or his or her designee for DO, the Counsels to the inspectors general for the offices of inspectors general, and the Chief Counsel or his or her designee for each of the other bureaus.
- The Designated Federal Officer (DFO) is an individual designated as such under the Federal Management Regulation, or is the Treasury employee responsible for managing the appointments, renewals, or invitations of individual members of a new or existing Advisory Committee.
- A Representative is a person who is specifically appointed to an Advisory Committee to provide the point of view of nongovernmental entities or of a recognizable group of persons (e.g., an industry sector, labor unions, or environmental groups) who have interests in the subject matter under an Advisory Committee's charge.
- Special Government Employee means an officer or employee of the Department who is retained, designated, appointed, or employed to perform temporary duties, with or without compensation, for a period not to exceed 130 days during any period of 365 consecutive days, either on a full-time or intermittent basis. The term does not include a Committee Member who serves only as a Representative of an industry or other outside entity, or a member who is already a federal employee.
- When a Treasury Bureau seeks to establish an Advisory Committee, the Bureau's DDO should provide general guidance to the Bureau regarding the employment status determination process and the ethics obligations of Committee Members.
- When a DFO seeks to appoint, renew, or invite an individual to serve on a new or existing Advisory Committee as a Representative rather than a Special Government Employee, that DFO shall submit an action memorandum to his or her Bureau's DDO describing what the prospective Committee Member is expected to do for the Advisory Committee and containing the information needed to designate the individual's employment status for purposes of the application of Government ethics statutes and regulations, including the following:
- 1) Whether the prospective Committee Member will receive compensation other than travel expenses for his or her work on the Advisory Committee;
- 2) How the prospective Committee Member was selected, including whether the prospective Committee Member was selected through an appointment process that used outside recommendations;
- 3) Whether the prospective Committee Member will act as a spokesperson for a recognizable nongovernmental group or stakeholder and, if so, what affiliations, experience, or commitments qualify him or her to do so; and
- 4) Whether the prospective Committee Member will be supervised by a federal government employee.
- The DFO's action memorandum shall include, as attachments, copies of the enabling documents establishing the Advisory Committee and setting out its duties, including the charter and any Treasury Orders or Executive Orders.
- Upon receiving the action memorandum seeking to appoint, renew, or invite an individual member to serve on a new or existing Advisory Committee, the DDO shall designate the employment status for purposes of the application of Government ethics statutes and regulations. Factors to be considered include but are not limited to:
- 1) The express language of the Advisory Committee's enabling documents (e.g., charter);
- 2) Whether the prospective Committee Member will receive compensation for his or her work on the Advisory Committee;
- 3) Whether the prospective Committee Member was selected through an appointment process that used outside recommendations;
- 4) Whether the prospective Committee Member will act as a spokesperson for a recognizable nongovernmental group or stakeholder; and
- 5) Whether the prospective Committee Member will be supervised by a federal government employee.
- 6) The DDO shall ensure that Committee Members who are designated as Special Government Employees meet all regulatory requirements including, but not limited to, ethics training and financial disclosure.
- The DDO shall ensure that ethics guidance is provided as appropriate, to Committee Members who are designated as Special Government Employees.
- The DFO shall notify his or her Bureau's DDO of the termination of an Advisory Committee, or the termination of a particular Committee Member's service on an Advisory Committee, prior to such termination.
- Upon being notified that an existing Advisory Committee will terminate, or that an individual member of an existing Advisory Committee will terminate his or her service on the Advisory Committee, the DDO shall ensure that each terminating member who has been designated as a Special Government Employees will receive advice on the criminal conflict of interest statute regarding post employment activities, 18 USC 207.
- In connection with the appointment or renewal or invitation of a Committee Member to a new or existing Advisory Committee, the DFO shall notify that Committee Member, or prospective Committee Member, of his or her employment status.
- Treasury Directive 21-03, "Establishment and Management of Treasury Federal Advisory Committees."
- Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (5 CFR Part 2635).
- Office of Government Ethics Informal Advisory Opinion 04 x 9, Memorandum to Designated Agency Ethics Officials (2004).
- Office of Government Ethics Informal Advisory Opinion 05 x 4, Memorandum dated August 18, 2005, from Marilyn L. Glynn, General Counsel, to Designated Agency Ethics Officials Regarding Federal Advisory Committee Appointments (2005).
- Office of Government Ethics Informal Advisory Opinion 82 x 22, Members of Federal Advisory Committees and the Conflict of Interest Statutes (1982).
- Federal Advisory Committees: Additional Guidance Could Help Agencies Better Ensure Committees' Independence and Balance (GAO-04-328) (2004).
- Federal Management Regulation, (41 CFR Part 102).
- OFFICE OF PRIMARY INTEREST. Office of the General Counsel.
Robert F. Hoyt