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Evaluation of DoD Processes and Procedures for Issuing Post Government Employment Opinions in Compliance with Section 847 Requirements DODIG-2020-044

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Publicly Released: December 26, 2019

Objective

The objective of this evaluation was to determine whether covered DoD officials requested and DoD ethics counselors issued ethics opinions to departing and former DoD officials, as required by Public Law 110‑181, “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008,” Section 847, “Requirements for senior Department of Defense officials seeking employment with defense contractors,” as amended, (Section 847).

Background

Section 847 requires the DoD OIG to conduct periodic reviews to ensure that written post‑Government employment ethics opinions are provided and retained in accordance with the requirements of this law. Additionally, Section 847 requires that, prior to accepting compensation from a DoD contractor, all officials covered by the law must request a written opinion regarding the applicability of post‑employment restrictions to activities that the official or former official may undertake on behalf of a contractor. Ethics counselors must provide these opinions within 30 days after receiving a completed request from Section 847 covered officials, and the final opinion must be retained by the DoD in a central database for at least five years.

Findings

We determined that Section 847 covered officials and DoD ethics counselors generally complied with Section 847 requirements for requesting and issuing ethics opinions related to post‑Government employment restrictions. From April 1, 2016 through April 1, 2019:

  • 99 percent of the statistically sampled requests were made by Section 847 Covered Officials;
     
  • 100 percent of the statistically sampled requests were issued in After Government Employment Advice Repository;
     
  • 97 percent of the statistically sampled requests were issued within 30 days of receiving sufficient information to establish eligibility under Section 847; and
     
  • 96 percent of the statistically sampled ethics opinions contained post‑employment restrictions.

The DoD Standards of Conduct Office and U.S. Army Office of General Counsel developed and distributed guidance on the use of the After Government Employment Advice Repository, issued periodic reminders and best practices for issuing Section 847 opinions, and provided regular training to ethics counselors, covered officials, and defense contractors. As a result of the DoD’s general compliance with Section 847 requirements for requesting and issuing opinions, former DoD employees and DoD contractors are typically receiving information and guidance to prevent conflicts of interest and to comply with post‑Government ethic restrictions.

Recommendations

We did not make any recommendations; therefore, we did not require any management comments.

Management Comments

We did not make any recommendations.

This report is the result of Proj. No. D2019-D00SPO-0126.000