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June 2017 BEGA Newsletter

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
BOARD OF ETHICS AND GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY


Office of Government Ethics
Darrin P. Sobin, Director
Ashley D. Cooks, Attorney

Volume 4 | Issue 6 | June 2017

Ethically Speaking

The BEGA/OGE Newsletter

Message from the Director ― 

Well folks, we made it to the finish line. The May15th filing deadline for Financial Disclosure Statements has come and gone and I am pleased to report that compliance rates are at historically high levels. This is due not only to the outreach efforts of the small but dedicated BEGA staff, but also because of the efforts of so many of our Agency Ethics Counselors and the high priority given by the Mayor’s staff, especially General Counsel Betsy Cavendish. That being said, there are still outliers who have yet to comply with their filing obligations.

Although our first priority is 100% voluntary compliance, now that the filing deadline has passed we will have no choice but to take more serious measures to compel compliance. This will begin this week with publication in the D.C. Register and on the BEGA website of all delinquent filers. We refer to this internally as the “shame” list. If the shame list does not compel compliance, we will move to ministerial fines at the rate of $10 per day starting from May 15th, with a maximum of 30 days or $300. These fines will automatically be deducted from employee paychecks by the Office of Pay and Retirement. Further refusal to file the necessary FDS forms will be viewed as an intentional refusal and a BEGA enforcement action will be instituted before the full Board with potential fines as high as $5,000. While this extreme step is rare, it is not unprecedented. We all have better things to do than bring enforcement actions against our employees, so please let’s get to 100% compliance the easy way!

Regards,

Darrin P. Sobin, Director of Government Ethics


BEGA Happenings ―

Upcoming Events ―

  • June 24th, 11am - 12:30 pm – Boards and Commissions Training
    Wilson Building,1st floor
  • July 6th, 11am – BEGA Monthly Board Meeting 
    Judiciary Square Building, Suite 540 South

Ethics In the News 

  • Former National Guard Colonel Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Bribery Scheme, Read more
  • Arizona Officials Charged in Bribery Scandal, Read more
  • Power Struggle Between Ethics Office and the White House, Read more
  • Federal Judge Dismantles Law that Regulates Contact Between Lobbyists and Legislators, Read more
  • Oregon Official Costs City $61K by Allowing Relatives to Live Rent Free, Read more
  • Kentucky Governor Faces Second Ethics Complaint Over Home, Read more

Good to Know ―

Employees are permitted to accept free attendance to an event in which the employee is a speaker/panelist on behalf of the agency if:

  1. free attendance is only for the day of participation,
  2. the ticket is provided by the sponsor of the event,
  3. the assignment is made by the agency head.

The employee’s agency must maintain a written record of such acceptance for two years.

If you have any questions, we can be reached at (202)481-3411, or through our website at www.bega-dc.gov.