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August 2016 BEGA newsletter

Wednesday, August 17, 2016



Office of Government Ethics

Darrin P. Sobin,

Director Ashley D. Cooks, Attorney


Volume 3 

Issue 8

August 2016               

Ethically Speaking

The BEGA/OGE Newsletter

Message from the Director ― 

Government Corruption – Financial Conflicts of Interest

It seems that everywhere in the news is some new story about government corruption.  Look no farther than this newsletter “Ethics in the News” for a sampling.  In many instances this corruption takes the form of Financial Conflicts of Interest.  The rule itself is really not that complicated.  Essentially it comes down to this:  Don’t use your government title or position in a way that would financially benefit yourself or someone close to you.  People who are close to you would include a spouse, a member of your household or someone with whom you have some sort of business relationship.  So why does this seem to happen so often and why is there so much confusion about it.  I wish I knew.  Ethics violators generally come in two flavors:  1) those who don’t know the rules; and 2) those who know but don’t care and are willing to take the risk.  There is not much that I can do to deter those in the second category, but I do place a high priority on educating government employees about ethics principles. We even produced a video primer which can be viewed on our website.  Ethics Video This light hearted video contains some admittedly ridiculous scenes of hapless characters teetering on the proverbial ethics cliff.  Sadly, each one was based upon an actual BEGA investigation.  The takeaway?  If you are ever confronted with making a decision that you think would benefit someone other than the District, call your ethics counselor or BEGA for guidance.  Enjoy the rest of Summer!


​Darrin P. Sobin, Director of Government Ethics


BEGA Happenings

Monthly Board Meeting – BEGA will hold its monthly meeting on September 1st at 11:00 a.m., One Judiciary Square, Suite 540 South.

BEGA’s Government Ethics Day and Annual Symposium will be held on October 20th at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Moot Court Room. Stay tuned for details.

You can now follow us on Twitter at @dcbega.


Upcoming Events

September 13th, 10:00-12:00 p.m. – Monthly Ethics Training (sign-up via PeopleSoft)


Ethics In the News ―

South El Monte Mayor Resigns After Bribery Admission - Read more

Former Opa-locka City Manager Surrenders to Feds on Corruption Charges - Read more

Key Figure in Chicago Public School Bribery Scandal Close to Plea Agreement - Read more

Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to Serve the Remainder of his Original 14-year Sentence - Read more

House Ethics Panel Investigates Texas Congressman for Introducing Amendment that Financially Benefitted Himself - Read more


Good to Know

Financial Conflicts of Interest – Employees are prohibited from participating on matters that the employee knows will likely have a direct and predictable effect on the employee’s financial interests or on the financial interests of a person closely affiliated with the employee, like a spouse, outside employer, or member of the employee’s household.   


If you have any questions, we can be reached at 202-481-3411, or through our website at