Technical Updating Amendments to Executive Branch Financial Disclosure and Standards of Ethical Conduct Regulations, 12111-12112 [05-4879]

Download as PDF 12111 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 70, No. 47 Friday, March 11, 2005 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each week. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS 5 CFR Parts 2634 and 2635 RINs 3209–AA00 and 3209–AA04 Technical Updating Amendments to Executive Branch Financial Disclosure and Standards of Ethical Conduct Regulations AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE). Final rule; technical amendments. ACTION: SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics is updating its executive branch regulation on financial disclosure to reflect the retroactive statutory increase of the reporting thresholds for gifts and travel reimbursements. In addition, OGE is similarly raising the widely attended gatherings nonsponsor gifts exception dollar ceiling under the executive branchwide standards of ethical conduct regulation. DATES: The amendments to 5 CFR 2634.304 are retroactively effective to January 1, 2005, and the amendments to 5 CFR 2635.204 are effective March 11, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William E. Gressman, Senior Associate General Counsel, Office of Government Ethics; Telephone: 202–482–9300; TDD: 202–482–9293; FAX: 202–482–9237. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Government Ethics is amending pertinent sections of its executive branchwide ethics regulations on financial disclosure and standards of ethical conduct (the Standards), as codified at 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2635, in order to update them. Increased Gifts and Travel Reimbursements Reporting Thresholds travel expenses in the OGE executive branchwide regulation at 5 CFR 2634.304 (and as illustrated in the four examples following paragraph (d) of that section) for both the public and confidential financial disclosure systems under section 102(a)(2)(A) & (B) of the Ethics in Government Act as amended, 5 U.S.C. app. 102(a)(2)(A) & (B), as extended to the executive branch confidential reporting system by 5 CFR 2634.907(a)(3). The new reporting thresholds for gifts and travel reimbursements being retroactively incorporated in OGE’s financial disclosure regulation are ‘‘more than $305’’ for the aggregation threshold for reporting and ‘‘$122 or less’’ for the de minimis exception for gifts and reimbursements which do not have to be counted towards the aggregate threshold (from the prior levels of more than $285 aggregate and $114 or less de minimis exception, respectively). These increases are brought about by a recent General Services Administration (GSA) rulemaking raising ‘‘minimal value’’ under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.S.C. 7342, to ‘‘$305 or less’’ (from the prior level of $285 or less) for the threeyear period 2005–2007, as the Ethics Act and OGE regulatory gifts/travel reimbursements reporting thresholds are tied to any such increase in foreign gifts minimal value over $250. See GSA’s rulemaking as published at 70 FR 2317– 2318 (part V) (January 12, 2005), revising retroactively to January 1, 2005 the foreign gifts minimal value definition as codified at 41 CFR 102– 42.10. The Office of Government Ethics will continue to adjust the gifts and travel reimbursements reporting thresholds in the future as needed in light of GSA’s redefinition of ‘‘minimal value’’ every three years for foreign gifts purposes. See OGE’s previous retroactive adjustments of those reporting thresholds, as published at 65 FR 69655–69657 (November 20, 2000) and 67 FR 61761–61762 (October 2, 2002), that were based on GSA’s prior redefinitions for the periods 1999–2001 and 2002–2004, respectively. First, OGE is retroactively increasing, to January 1, 2005, the reporting thresholds for gifts, reimbursements and VerDate jul<14>2003 17:11 Mar 10, 2005 Jkt 205001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Increased Dollar Ceiling for the Exception for Nonsponsor Gifts of Free Attendance at Widely Attended Gatherings In addition, OGE is increasing from $285 to $305 the exception ceiling for nonsponsor gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings under the standards of ethical conduct regulation, as codified at 5 CFR 2635.204(g)(2) (and as illustrated in the examples following paragraph (g)). This separate regulatory change is effective upon publication in the Federal Register, on March 11, 2005. As OGE noted in the preambles to the proposed and final rules on such nonsponsor gifts, that ceiling is based in part on the financial disclosure gifts reporting threshold. See 60 FR 31416 (June 15, 1995) and 61 FR 42968 (August 20, 1996). The nonsponsor gift ceiling was last raised in the October 2002 OGE rulemaking noted in the preceding paragraph above. Thus, it is reasonable now to again increase the nonsponsor gift ceiling to match the further increase in the gifts/travel reimbursements reporting thresholds. The other requirements for acceptance of such nonsponsor gifts, including an agency interest determination and expected attendance by more than 100 persons, remain unchanged. Matters of Regulatory Procedure Administrative Procedure Act Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), as Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I find good cause exists for waiving the general notice of proposed rulemaking, opportunity for public comment and 30-day delay in effectiveness as to these technical updating amendments. The notice, comment and delayed effective date provisions are being waived in part because these technical amendments concern matters of agency organization, practice and procedure. Further, it is in the public interest that correct and upto-date information be contained in the affected sections of OGE’s regulations as soon as possible. The increase in the reporting thresholds for gifts and reimbursements is based on a statutory formula and also lessens the reporting burden somewhat, and thus the effective date of that regulatory revision is being made retroactively effective to January 1, 2005, when the change became effective under the Ethics Act. E:\FR\FM\11MRR1.SGM 11MRR1 12112 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 47 / Friday, March 11, 2005 / Rules and Regulations Regulatory Flexibility Act List of Subjects As Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I certify under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it primarily affects Federal employees. 5 CFR Part 2634 Certificates of divestiture, Conflict of interests, Financial disclosure, Government employees, Penalties, Privacy, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Trusts and trustees. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply because this amendatory rulemaking does not contain information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act For purposes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. chapter 25, subchapter II), the final rule will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments and will not result in increased expenditures by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) in any one year. Congressional Review Act The Office of Government Ethics has determined that this amendatory rulemaking is a nonmajor rule under the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 8) and will submit a report thereon to the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and General Accounting Office in accordance with that law at the same time this rulemaking document is sent to the Office of the Federal Register for publication in the Federal Register. Executive Order 12866 In promulgating these technical amendments, OGE has adhered to the regulatory philosophy and the applicable principles of regulation set forth in section 1 of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. These amendments have not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under that Executive order, since they are not deemed ‘‘significant’’ thereunder. Executive Order 12988 As Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I have reviewed this final amendatory regulation in light of section 3 of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, and certify that it meets the applicable standards provided therein. VerDate jul<14>2003 17:11 Mar 10, 2005 Jkt 205001 5 CFR Part 2635 Conflict of interests, Executive branch standards of ethical conduct, Government employees. Approved: March 4, 2005. Marilyn L. Glynn, Acting Director, Office of Government Ethics. I a. Removing the dollar amount ‘‘$285’’ in paragraph (g)(2) and in examples 1 and 2 (in the latter of which it appears twice) following paragraph (g)(6) and adding in its place in each instance the dollar amount ‘‘$305’’; and I b. Removing the dollar amount ‘‘$570’’ in example 2 following paragraph (g)(6) and adding in its place the dollar amount ‘‘$610’’. [FR Doc. 05–4879 Filed 3–10–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6345–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection For the reasons set forth in the Service preamble, the Office of Government Ethics is amending 5 CFR parts 2634 and 9 CFR Parts 94 and 95 2635 as follows: I PART 2634—EXECUTIVE BRANCH FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, QUALIFIED TRUSTS, AND CERTIFICATES OF DIVESTITURE 1. The authority citation for part 2634 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government Act of 1978); 26 U.S.C. 1043; Pub. L. 101–410, 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note (Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990), as amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. 104–134, 110 Stat. 1321 (Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., p. 306. [Docket No. 03–080–6] RIN 0579–AB73 Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions and Importation of Commodities; Partial Delay of Applicability Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule; partial delay of applicability. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The amendments in this final rule delay until further notice the applicability of certain provisions of the rule entitled ‘‘Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; Minimal-Risk Regions § 2634.304 [Amended] and Importation of Commodities,’’ I 2. Section 2634.304 is amended by: published in the Federal Register on I a. Removing the dollar amount ‘‘$285’’ in paragraphs (a) and (b) and in example January 4, 2005, 70 FR 460–553. That 1 following paragraph (d) and adding in rule was scheduled to amend the regulations in 9 CFR parts 93, 94, 95, its place in each instance the dollar and 96, effective March 7, 2005, to amount ‘‘$305’’; establish a category of regions that I b. Removing the dollar amount ‘‘$114’’ present a minimal risk of introducing in paragraph (d) and in examples 1 and 2 following paragraph (d) and adding in bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the United States via live ruminants and its place in each instance the dollar ruminant products and byproducts and amount ‘‘$122’’; and to add Canada to this category. That rule I c. Removing the dollar amount ‘‘$285’’ in examples 3 and 4 following paragraph included conditions for the importation of certain live ruminants and ruminant (d) and adding in its place in each products from such regions. instance the dollar amount ‘‘$305’’. DATES: Effective March 7, 2005. PART 2635—STANDARDS OF FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR EMPLOYEES Karen James-Preston, Director, OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Technical Trade Services, National Center for Import and Export, VS, I 3. The authority citation for part 2635 APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 38, continues to read as follows: Riverdale, MD 20737–1231; (301) 734– Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301, 7351, 7353; 5 4356. U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government Act of SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On 1978); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 January 4, 2005, we published a final rule in the Federal Register (70 FR 460– FR 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., p. 306. 553, Docket No. 03–080–3) that § 2635.204 [Amended] establishes a category of regions that present a minimal risk of introducing I 4. Section 2635.204 is amended by: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\11MRR1.SGM 11MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 47 (Friday, March 11, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12111-12112]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-4879]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
week.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 47 / Friday, March 11, 2005 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 12111]]



OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS

5 CFR Parts 2634 and 2635

RINs 3209-AA00 and 3209-AA04


Technical Updating Amendments to Executive Branch Financial 
Disclosure and Standards of Ethical Conduct Regulations

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Final rule; technical amendments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics is updating its executive 
branch regulation on financial disclosure to reflect the retroactive 
statutory increase of the reporting thresholds for gifts and travel 
reimbursements. In addition, OGE is similarly raising the widely 
attended gatherings nonsponsor gifts exception dollar ceiling under the 
executive branchwide standards of ethical conduct regulation.

DATES: The amendments to 5 CFR 2634.304 are retroactively effective to 
January 1, 2005, and the amendments to 5 CFR 2635.204 are effective 
March 11, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William E. Gressman, Senior Associate 
General Counsel, Office of Government Ethics; Telephone: 202-482-9300; 
TDD: 202-482-9293; FAX: 202-482-9237.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Government Ethics is amending 
pertinent sections of its executive branchwide ethics regulations on 
financial disclosure and standards of ethical conduct (the Standards), 
as codified at 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2635, in order to update them.

Increased Gifts and Travel Reimbursements Reporting Thresholds

    First, OGE is retroactively increasing, to January 1, 2005, the 
reporting thresholds for gifts, reimbursements and travel expenses in 
the OGE executive branchwide regulation at 5 CFR 2634.304 (and as 
illustrated in the four examples following paragraph (d) of that 
section) for both the public and confidential financial disclosure 
systems under section 102(a)(2)(A) & (B) of the Ethics in Government 
Act as amended, 5 U.S.C. app. 102(a)(2)(A) & (B), as extended to the 
executive branch confidential reporting system by 5 CFR 2634.907(a)(3). 
The new reporting thresholds for gifts and travel reimbursements being 
retroactively incorporated in OGE's financial disclosure regulation are 
``more than $305'' for the aggregation threshold for reporting and 
``$122 or less'' for the de minimis exception for gifts and 
reimbursements which do not have to be counted towards the aggregate 
threshold (from the prior levels of more than $285 aggregate and $114 
or less de minimis exception, respectively).
    These increases are brought about by a recent General Services 
Administration (GSA) rulemaking raising ``minimal value'' under the 
Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.S.C. 7342, to ``$305 or less'' 
(from the prior level of $285 or less) for the three-year period 2005-
2007, as the Ethics Act and OGE regulatory gifts/travel reimbursements 
reporting thresholds are tied to any such increase in foreign gifts 
minimal value over $250. See GSA's rulemaking as published at 70 FR 
2317-2318 (part V) (January 12, 2005), revising retroactively to 
January 1, 2005 the foreign gifts minimal value definition as codified 
at 41 CFR 102-42.10.
    The Office of Government Ethics will continue to adjust the gifts 
and travel reimbursements reporting thresholds in the future as needed 
in light of GSA's redefinition of ``minimal value'' every three years 
for foreign gifts purposes. See OGE's previous retroactive adjustments 
of those reporting thresholds, as published at 65 FR 69655-69657 
(November 20, 2000) and 67 FR 61761-61762 (October 2, 2002), that were 
based on GSA's prior redefinitions for the periods 1999-2001 and 2002-
2004, respectively.

Increased Dollar Ceiling for the Exception for Nonsponsor Gifts of Free 
Attendance at Widely Attended Gatherings

    In addition, OGE is increasing from $285 to $305 the exception 
ceiling for nonsponsor gifts of free attendance at widely attended 
gatherings under the standards of ethical conduct regulation, as 
codified at 5 CFR 2635.204(g)(2) (and as illustrated in the examples 
following paragraph (g)). This separate regulatory change is effective 
upon publication in the Federal Register, on March 11, 2005. As OGE 
noted in the preambles to the proposed and final rules on such 
nonsponsor gifts, that ceiling is based in part on the financial 
disclosure gifts reporting threshold. See 60 FR 31416 (June 15, 1995) 
and 61 FR 42968 (August 20, 1996). The nonsponsor gift ceiling was last 
raised in the October 2002 OGE rulemaking noted in the preceding 
paragraph above. Thus, it is reasonable now to again increase the 
nonsponsor gift ceiling to match the further increase in the gifts/
travel reimbursements reporting thresholds. The other requirements for 
acceptance of such nonsponsor gifts, including an agency interest 
determination and expected attendance by more than 100 persons, remain 
unchanged.

Matters of Regulatory Procedure

Administrative Procedure Act

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), as Acting Director of the 
Office of Government Ethics, I find good cause exists for waiving the 
general notice of proposed rulemaking, opportunity for public comment 
and 30-day delay in effectiveness as to these technical updating 
amendments. The notice, comment and delayed effective date provisions 
are being waived in part because these technical amendments concern 
matters of agency organization, practice and procedure. Further, it is 
in the public interest that correct and up-to-date information be 
contained in the affected sections of OGE's regulations as soon as 
possible. The increase in the reporting thresholds for gifts and 
reimbursements is based on a statutory formula and also lessens the 
reporting burden somewhat, and thus the effective date of that 
regulatory revision is being made retroactively effective to January 1, 
2005, when the change became effective under the Ethics Act.

[[Page 12112]]

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    As Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I certify 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) that this 
rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities because it primarily affects Federal 
employees.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply 
because this amendatory rulemaking does not contain information 
collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of 
Management and Budget.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    For purposes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 
chapter 25, subchapter II), the final rule will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments and will not result in increased 
expenditures by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (as adjusted for 
inflation) in any one year.

Congressional Review Act

    The Office of Government Ethics has determined that this amendatory 
rulemaking is a nonmajor rule under the Congressional Review Act (5 
U.S.C. chapter 8) and will submit a report thereon to the U.S. Senate, 
House of Representatives and General Accounting Office in accordance 
with that law at the same time this rulemaking document is sent to the 
Office of the Federal Register for publication in the Federal Register.

Executive Order 12866

    In promulgating these technical amendments, OGE has adhered to the 
regulatory philosophy and the applicable principles of regulation set 
forth in section 1 of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and 
Review. These amendments have not been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under that Executive order, since they are not 
deemed ``significant'' thereunder.

Executive Order 12988

    As Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I have 
reviewed this final amendatory regulation in light of section 3 of 
Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, and certify that it meets 
the applicable standards provided therein.

List of Subjects

5 CFR Part 2634

    Certificates of divestiture, Conflict of interests, Financial 
disclosure, Government employees, Penalties, Privacy, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Trusts and trustees.

5 CFR Part 2635

    Conflict of interests, Executive branch standards of ethical 
conduct, Government employees.

    Approved: March 4, 2005.
Marilyn L. Glynn,
Acting Director, Office of Government Ethics.

0
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Office of Government 
Ethics is amending 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2635 as follows:

PART 2634--EXECUTIVE BRANCH FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, QUALIFIED TRUSTS, 
AND CERTIFICATES OF DIVESTITURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 2634 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government Act of 1978); 26 
U.S.C. 1043; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note 
(Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990), as 
amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (Debt 
Collection Improvement Act of 1996); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 
1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR 42547, 3 CFR, 
1990 Comp., p. 306.


Sec.  2634.304  [Amended]

0
2. Section 2634.304 is amended by:
0
a. Removing the dollar amount ``$285'' in paragraphs (a) and (b) and in 
example 1 following paragraph (d) and adding in its place in each 
instance the dollar amount ``$305'';
0
b. Removing the dollar amount ``$114'' in paragraph (d) and in examples 
1 and 2 following paragraph (d) and adding in its place in each 
instance the dollar amount ``$122''; and
0
c. Removing the dollar amount ``$285'' in examples 3 and 4 following 
paragraph (d) and adding in its place in each instance the dollar 
amount ``$305''.

PART 2635--STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR EMPLOYEES OF THE 
EXECUTIVE BRANCH

0
3. The authority citation for part 2635 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301, 7351, 7353; 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in 
Government Act of 1978); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., 
p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., 
p. 306.


Sec.  2635.204  [Amended]

0
4. Section 2635.204 is amended by:
0
a. Removing the dollar amount ``$285'' in paragraph (g)(2) and in 
examples 1 and 2 (in the latter of which it appears twice) following 
paragraph (g)(6) and adding in its place in each instance the dollar 
amount ``$305''; and
0
b. Removing the dollar amount ``$570'' in example 2 following paragraph 
(g)(6) and adding in its place the dollar amount ``$610''.

[FR Doc. 05-4879 Filed 3-10-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6345-02-P