2020 Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustments for Ethics in Government Act Violations, 2279-2281 [2020-00479]

Download as PDF 2279 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 10 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 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. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS 5 CFR Parts 2634 and 2636 RIN 3209–AA49 2020 Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustments for Ethics in Government Act Violations Office of Government Ethics. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics is issuing this final rule to make the 2020 annual adjustments to the Ethics in Government Act civil monetary penalties. DATES: This final rule is effective January 15, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kimberly L. Sikora Panza, Associate Counsel, General Counsel and Legal Policy Division, Office of Government Ethics, Telephone: 202–482–9300; TTY: 800–877–8339; FAX: 202–482–9237. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES I. Background In November 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Sec. 701 of Pub. L. 114–74) (the 2015 Act), which further amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101– 410). The 2015 Act required Federal agencies to make inflationary adjustments to the civil monetary penalties (CMPs) within their jurisdiction with an initial ‘‘catch-up’’ adjustment through an interim final rule effective no later than August 1, 2016, and further mandates that Federal agencies make subsequent annual inflationary adjustments of their CMPs, to be effective no later than January 15 of each year. The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 as amended, 5 U.S.C. appendix (the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 Ethics Act) provides for five CMPs.1 Specifically, the Ethics Act provides for penalties that can be assessed by an appropriate United States district court, based upon a civil action brought by the Department of Justice, for the following five types of violations: (1) Knowing and willful failure to file, report required information on, or falsification of a public financial disclosure report, 5 U.S.C. appendix 104(a), 5 CFR 2634.701(b); (2) knowing and willful breach of a qualified trust by trustees and interested parties, 5 U.S.C. appendix 102(f)(6)(C)(i), 5 CFR 2634.702(a); (3) negligent breach of a qualified trust by trustees and interested parties, 5 U.S.C. appendix 102(f)(6)(C)(ii), 5 CFR 2634.702(b); (4) misuse of a public report, 5 U.S.C. appendix 105(c)(2), 5 CFR 2634.703; and (5) violation of outside employment/ activities provisions, 5 U.S.C. appendix 504(a), 5 CFR 2636.104(a). In compliance with the 2015 Act and guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) made previous inflationary adjustments to the five Ethics Act CMPs, and is issuing this rulemaking to effectuate the 2020 annual inflationary adjustments to those CMPs. In accordance with the 2015 Act, these adjustments are based on the percent change between the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI–U) for the month of October preceding the date of the adjustment, and the prior year’s October CPI–U. Pursuant to OMB guidance, the cost-of-living adjustment multiplier for 2020, based on the CPI–U for October 2019, not seasonally adjusted, is 1.01764. To calculate the 2020 annual adjustment, agencies must multiply the most recent penalty by the 1.01764 multiplier, and round to the nearest dollar. Applying the formula established by the 2015 Act and OMB guidance, OGE 1 OGE has previously determined, after consultation with the Department of Justice, that the $200 late filing fee for public financial disclosure reports that are more than 30 days overdue (see section 104(d) of the Ethics Act, 5 U.S.C. appendix, 104(d), and 5 CFR 2634.704 of OGE’s regulations thereunder) is not a CMP as defined under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, as amended. Therefore, that fee is not being adjusted in this rulemaking (nor was it adjusted by OGE in previous CMP rulemakings), and will remain at its current amount of $200. PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 is amending the Ethics Act CMPs through this rulemaking to: (1) Increase the three penalties reflected in 5 CFR 2634.702(a), 5 CFR 2634.703, and 5 CFR 2636.104(a)— which were previously adjusted to a maximum of $20,134—to a maximum of $20,489; (2) Increase the penalty reflected in 5 CFR 2634.702(b)—which was previously adjusted to a maximum of $10,067—to a maximum of $10,245; and (3) Increase the penalty reflected in 5 CFR 2634.701(b)—which was previously adjusted to a maximum of $60,517—to a maximum of $61,585. These adjusted penalty amounts will apply to penalties assessed after January 15, 2020 (the effective date of this final rule) whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015. OGE will continue to make future annual inflationary adjustments to the Ethics Act CMPs in accordance with the statutory formula set forth in the 2015 Act and OMB guidance. II. Matters of Regulatory Procedure Administrative Procedure Act Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b), as Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I find that good cause exists for waiving the general notice of proposed rulemaking and public comment procedures as to these technical amendments. The notice and comment procedures are being waived because these amendments, which concern matters of agency organization, procedure and practice, are being adopted in accordance with statutorily mandated inflation adjustment procedures of the 2015 Act, which specifies that agencies shall adjust civil monetary penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act. It is also in the public interest that the adjusted rates for civil monetary penalties under the Ethics in Government Act become effective as soon as possible in order to maintain their deterrent effect. Regulatory Flexibility Act As the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I certify under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) that this final rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it primarily affects current Federal executive branch employees. E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1 2280 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply because this regulation does not contain information collection requirements that require approval of the Office of Management and Budget. Ethics is amending 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2636 as follows: PART 2634—EXECUTIVE BRANCH FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, QUALIFIED TRUSTS, AND CERTIFICATES OF DIVESTITURE For purposes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. chapter 5, subchapter II), this rule would 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. Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866 Authority: 5 U.S.C. app.; 26 U.S.C. 1043; Pub. L. 101–410, 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, as amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. 104–134, 110 Stat. 1321 and Sec. 701, Pub. L. 114–74; Pub. L. 112–105, 126 Stat. 291; 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. 2. Section 2634.701 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows: ■ § 2634.701 reports. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select the regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. The Office of Management and Budget has determined that rulemakings such as this implementing annual inflationary adjustments under the 2015 Act are not significant regulatory actions under Executive Order 12866. As Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I have reviewed this rule 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. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 5 CFR Part 2636 Conflict of interests, Government employees, Penalties. Dated: January 9, 2020. Emory Rounds, Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics. For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the U.S. Office of Government Jkt 250001 Failure to file or falsifying * * * * * (b) Civil action. The Attorney General may bring a civil action in any appropriate United States district court against any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies or who knowingly and willfully fails to file or report any information required by filers of public reports under subpart B of this part. The court in which the action is brought may assess against the individual a civil monetary penalty in any amount, not to exceed the amounts set forth in Table 1 to this section, as provided by section 104(a) of the Act, as amended, and as adjusted in accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. Executive Order 12988 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 TABLE 1 TO § 2634.702 1. The authority citation for part 2634 continues to read as follows: ■ Unfunded Mandates Reform Act VerDate Sep<11>2014 section, as provided by section 102(f)(6)(C)(i) of the Act and as adjusted in accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. TABLE 1 TO § 2634.701 Date of violation Penalty Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2, 2015 .................................. Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015 .............................. $11,000 20,489 (b) The Attorney General may bring a civil action in any appropriate United States district court against any individual who negligently violates the provisions of § 2634.408(d)(1) or (e)(1). The court in which the action is brought may assess against the individual a civil monetary penalty in any amount, not to exceed the amounts set forth in Table 2 to this section, as provided by section 102(f)(6)(C)(ii) of the Act and as adjusted in accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. TABLE 2 TO § 2634.702 Date of violation Penalty Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2, 2015 .................................. Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015 .............................. $5,500 10,245 4. Section 2634.703 is revised to read as follows: ■ § 2634.703 Misuse of public reports. (a) The Attorney General may bring a Date of violation Penalty civil action against any person who obtains or uses a report filed under this Violation occurring between Sept. 14, 2007 and Nov. 2, part for any purpose prohibited by 2015 .................................. $50,000 section 105(c)(1) of the Act, as Violation occurring after Nov. incorporated in § 2634.603(f). The court 2, 2015 .............................. 61,585 in which the action is brought may assess against the person a civil * * * * * monetary penalty in any amount, not to ■ 3. Section 2634.702 is revised to read exceed the amounts set forth in Table 1 as follows: to this section, as provided by section 105(c)(2) of the Act and as adjusted in § 2634.702 Breaches by trust fiduciaries accordance with the inflation and interested parties. adjustment procedures prescribed in the (a) The Attorney General may bring a Federal Civil Penalties Inflation civil action in any appropriate United Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. States district court against any individual who knowingly and willfully TABLE 1 TO § 2634.703 violates the provisions of § 2634.408(d)(1) or (e)(1). The court in Date of violation Penalty which the action is brought may assess against the individual a civil monetary Violation occurring between penalty in any amount, not to exceed Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2, 2015 .................................. $11,000 the amounts set forth in Table 1 to this PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1 TO § 2634.703—Continued Date of violation NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Penalty 10 CFR Parts 2 and 13 Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015 .............................. 20,489 [NRC–2018–0048] RIN 3150–AK11 (b) This remedy shall be in addition to any other remedy available under statutory or common law. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES PART 2636—LIMITATIONS ON OUTSIDE EARNED INCOME, EMPLOYMENT AND AFFILIATIONS FOR CERTAIN NONCAREER EMPLOYEES Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation for Fiscal Year 2020 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its regulations to adjust the maximum civil ■ 5. The authority citation for part 2636 monetary penalties it can assess under continues to read as follows: statutes enforced by the agency. These changes are mandated by the Federal Authority: 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Government Act of 1978); Pub. L. 101–410, of 1990, as amended by the Federal 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note (Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of Improvements Act of 2015. The NRC is 1990), as amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. amending its regulations to adjust the 104–134, 110 Stat. 1321 (Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996) and Sec. 701, Pub. maximum civil monetary penalty for a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of L. 114–74 (Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 1954, as amended, or any regulation or Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 1989 Comp., order issued under the Atomic Energy p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR Act from $298,211 to $303,471 per 42547, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp., p. 306. violation, per day. Additionally, the NRC is amending provisions concerning ■ 6. Section 2636.104 is amended by program fraud civil penalties by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: adjusting the maximum civil monetary penalty under the Program Fraud Civil § 2636.104 Civil, disciplinary and other Remedies Act from $11,463 to $11,665 action. for each false claim or statement. (a) Civil action. Except when the DATES: This final rule is effective on employee engages in conduct in good January 15, 2020. faith reliance upon an advisory opinion ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID issued under § 2636.103, an employee who engages in any conduct in violation NRC–2018–0048 when contacting the NRC about the availability of of the prohibitions, limitations and information for this action. You may restrictions contained in this part may obtain publicly-available information be subject to civil action under 5 U.S.C. app. 504(a) and a civil monetary penalty related to this action by any of the following methods: of not more than the amounts set in • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to Table 1 to this section, as adjusted in https://www.regulations.gov and search accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the for Docket ID NRC–2018–0048. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, or Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For the amount of the compensation the technical questions, contact the individual received for the prohibited individual listed in the FOR FURTHER conduct, whichever is greater. INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. TABLE 1 TO § 2636.104 • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System Date of violation Penalty (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the Violation occurring between ADAMS Public Documents collection at Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2, 2015 .................................. $11,000 https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ Violation occurring after Nov. adams.html. To begin the search, select 2, 2015 .............................. 20,489 ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact * * * * * the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) [FR Doc. 2020–00479 Filed 1–14–20; 8:45 am] reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– BILLING CODE 6345–03–P 415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Jan 14, 2020 Jkt 250001 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2281 nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Michel, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone: 301–415–0932; email: Eric.Michel2@ nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents: I. Background II. Discussion III. Rulemaking Procedure IV. Section-by-Section Analysis V. Regulatory Analysis VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act VII. Backfitting and Issue Finality VIII. Plain Writing IX. National Environmental Policy Act X. Paperwork Reduction Act XI. Congressional Review Act I. Background Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (FCPIAA) in 1990 to allow for regular adjustment for inflation of civil monetary penalties (CMPs), maintain the deterrent effect of such penalties and promote compliance with the law, and improve the collection of CMPs by the Federal Government (Pub. L. 101– 410, 104 Stat. 890; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Pursuant to this authority, and as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104– 34, 110 Stat. 1321–373), the NRC increased via rulemaking the CMP amounts for violations of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA) (codified at § 2.205 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR)) and Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act (codified at § 13.3) on four occasions between 1996 and 2008.1 On November 2, 2015, Congress amended the FCPIAA through the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 1 Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (73 FR 54671; Sept. 23, 2008); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation, (69 FR 62393; Oct. 26, 2004); Adjustment of Civil Penalties for Inflation; Miscellaneous Administrative Changes, (65 FR 59270; Oct. 4, 2000); Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation, (61 FR 53554; Oct. 11, 1996). An adjustment was not performed in 2012 because the FCPIAA at the time required agencies to round their CMP amounts to the nearest multiple of $1,000 or $10,000, depending on the size of the CMP amount, and the 2012 adjustments based on the statutory formula were small enough that no adjustment resulted. E:\FR\FM\15JAR1.SGM 15JAR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 10 (Wednesday, January 15, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2279-2281]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-00479]



========================================================================
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. 

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


Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 10 / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 2279]]



OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS

5 CFR Parts 2634 and 2636

RIN 3209-AA49


2020 Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustments for Ethics in 
Government Act Violations

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the U.S. Office of Government 
Ethics is issuing this final rule to make the 2020 annual adjustments 
to the Ethics in Government Act civil monetary penalties.

DATES: This final rule is effective January 15, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kimberly L. Sikora Panza, Associate 
Counsel, General Counsel and Legal Policy Division, Office of 
Government Ethics, Telephone: 202-482-9300; TTY: 800-877-8339; FAX: 
202-482-9237.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    In November 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties 
Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Sec. 701 of Pub. L. 
114-74) (the 2015 Act), which further amended the Federal Civil 
Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-410). The 2015 
Act required Federal agencies to make inflationary adjustments to the 
civil monetary penalties (CMPs) within their jurisdiction with an 
initial ``catch-up'' adjustment through an interim final rule effective 
no later than August 1, 2016, and further mandates that Federal 
agencies make subsequent annual inflationary adjustments of their CMPs, 
to be effective no later than January 15 of each year.
    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 as amended, 5 U.S.C. appendix 
(the Ethics Act) provides for five CMPs.\1\ Specifically, the Ethics 
Act provides for penalties that can be assessed by an appropriate 
United States district court, based upon a civil action brought by the 
Department of Justice, for the following five types of violations:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ OGE has previously determined, after consultation with the 
Department of Justice, that the $200 late filing fee for public 
financial disclosure reports that are more than 30 days overdue (see 
section 104(d) of the Ethics Act, 5 U.S.C. appendix, 104(d), and 5 
CFR 2634.704 of OGE's regulations thereunder) is not a CMP as 
defined under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, 
as amended. Therefore, that fee is not being adjusted in this 
rulemaking (nor was it adjusted by OGE in previous CMP rulemakings), 
and will remain at its current amount of $200.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (1) Knowing and willful failure to file, report required 
information on, or falsification of a public financial disclosure 
report, 5 U.S.C. appendix 104(a), 5 CFR 2634.701(b);
    (2) knowing and willful breach of a qualified trust by trustees and 
interested parties, 5 U.S.C. appendix 102(f)(6)(C)(i), 5 CFR 
2634.702(a);
    (3) negligent breach of a qualified trust by trustees and 
interested parties, 5 U.S.C. appendix 102(f)(6)(C)(ii), 5 CFR 
2634.702(b);
    (4) misuse of a public report, 5 U.S.C. appendix 105(c)(2), 5 CFR 
2634.703; and
    (5) violation of outside employment/activities provisions, 5 U.S.C. 
appendix 504(a), 5 CFR 2636.104(a).
    In compliance with the 2015 Act and guidance issued by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB), the U.S. Office of Government Ethics 
(OGE) made previous inflationary adjustments to the five Ethics Act 
CMPs, and is issuing this rulemaking to effectuate the 2020 annual 
inflationary adjustments to those CMPs. In accordance with the 2015 
Act, these adjustments are based on the percent change between the 
Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the month of 
October preceding the date of the adjustment, and the prior year's 
October CPI-U. Pursuant to OMB guidance, the cost-of-living adjustment 
multiplier for 2020, based on the CPI-U for October 2019, not 
seasonally adjusted, is 1.01764. To calculate the 2020 annual 
adjustment, agencies must multiply the most recent penalty by the 
1.01764 multiplier, and round to the nearest dollar.
    Applying the formula established by the 2015 Act and OMB guidance, 
OGE is amending the Ethics Act CMPs through this rulemaking to:
    (1) Increase the three penalties reflected in 5 CFR 2634.702(a), 5 
CFR 2634.703, and 5 CFR 2636.104(a)--which were previously adjusted to 
a maximum of $20,134--to a maximum of $20,489;
    (2) Increase the penalty reflected in 5 CFR 2634.702(b)--which was 
previously adjusted to a maximum of $10,067--to a maximum of $10,245; 
and
    (3) Increase the penalty reflected in 5 CFR 2634.701(b)--which was 
previously adjusted to a maximum of $60,517--to a maximum of $61,585. 
These adjusted penalty amounts will apply to penalties assessed after 
January 15, 2020 (the effective date of this final rule) whose 
associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
    OGE will continue to make future annual inflationary adjustments to 
the Ethics Act CMPs in accordance with the statutory formula set forth 
in the 2015 Act and OMB guidance.

II. Matters of Regulatory Procedure

Administrative Procedure Act

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b), as Director of the Office of 
Government Ethics, I find that good cause exists for waiving the 
general notice of proposed rulemaking and public comment procedures as 
to these technical amendments. The notice and comment procedures are 
being waived because these amendments, which concern matters of agency 
organization, procedure and practice, are being adopted in accordance 
with statutorily mandated inflation adjustment procedures of the 2015 
Act, which specifies that agencies shall adjust civil monetary 
penalties notwithstanding Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure 
Act. It is also in the public interest that the adjusted rates for 
civil monetary penalties under the Ethics in Government Act become 
effective as soon as possible in order to maintain their deterrent 
effect.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

[[Page 2280]]

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply 
because this regulation does not contain information collection 
requirements that require 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 5, subchapter II), this rule would 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.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select the regulatory approaches that 
maximize net benefits (including economic, environmental, public health 
and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 
13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. 
The Office of Management and Budget has determined that rulemakings 
such as this implementing annual inflationary adjustments under the 
2015 Act are not significant regulatory actions under Executive Order 
12866.

Executive Order 12988

    As Director of the Office of Government Ethics, I have reviewed 
this rule 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 2636

    Conflict of interests, Government employees, Penalties.

    Dated: January 9, 2020.
Emory Rounds,
Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the U.S. Office of 
Government Ethics is amending 5 CFR parts 2634 and 2636 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.; 26 U.S.C. 1043; Pub. L. 101-410, 104 
Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note, as amended by Sec. 31001, Pub. L. 
104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 and Sec. 701, Pub. L. 114-74; Pub. L. 112-
105, 126 Stat. 291; 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.


0
2. Section 2634.701 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  2634.701   Failure to file or falsifying reports.

* * * * *
    (b) Civil action. The Attorney General may bring a civil action in 
any appropriate United States district court against any individual who 
knowingly and willfully falsifies or who knowingly and willfully fails 
to file or report any information required by filers of public reports 
under subpart B of this part. The court in which the action is brought 
may assess against the individual a civil monetary penalty in any 
amount, not to exceed the amounts set forth in Table 1 to this section, 
as provided by section 104(a) of the Act, as amended, and as adjusted 
in accordance with the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in 
the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as 
amended.

                       Table 1 to Sec.   2634.701
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Date of violation                         Penalty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Violation occurring between Sept. 14, 2007 and Nov. 2,           $50,000
 2015...................................................
Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015..................          61,585
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

0
3. Section 2634.702 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  2634.702   Breaches by trust fiduciaries and interested parties.

    (a) The Attorney General may bring a civil action in any 
appropriate United States district court against any individual who 
knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of Sec.  2634.408(d)(1) 
or (e)(1). The court in which the action is brought may assess against 
the individual a civil monetary penalty in any amount, not to exceed 
the amounts set forth in Table 1 to this section, as provided by 
section 102(f)(6)(C)(i) of the Act and as adjusted in accordance with 
the inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the Federal Civil 
Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended.

                       Table 1 to Sec.   2634.702
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Date of violation                         Penalty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2,           $11,000
 2015...................................................
Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015..................          20,489
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) The Attorney General may bring a civil action in any 
appropriate United States district court against any individual who 
negligently violates the provisions of Sec.  2634.408(d)(1) or (e)(1). 
The court in which the action is brought may assess against the 
individual a civil monetary penalty in any amount, not to exceed the 
amounts set forth in Table 2 to this section, as provided by section 
102(f)(6)(C)(ii) of the Act and as adjusted in accordance with the 
inflation adjustment procedures of the Federal Civil Penalties 
Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended.

                       Table 2 to Sec.   2634.702
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Date of violation                         Penalty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2,            $5,500
 2015...................................................
Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015..................          10,245
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
4. Section 2634.703 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  2634.703  Misuse of public reports.

    (a) The Attorney General may bring a civil action against any 
person who obtains or uses a report filed under this part for any 
purpose prohibited by section 105(c)(1) of the Act, as incorporated in 
Sec.  2634.603(f). The court in which the action is brought may assess 
against the person a civil monetary penalty in any amount, not to 
exceed the amounts set forth in Table 1 to this section, as provided by 
section 105(c)(2) of the Act and as adjusted in accordance with the 
inflation adjustment procedures prescribed in the Federal Civil 
Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended.

                       Table 1 to Sec.   2634.703
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Date of violation                         Penalty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2,           $11,000
 2015...................................................

[[Page 2281]]

 
Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015..................          20,489
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) This remedy shall be in addition to any other remedy available 
under statutory or common law.

PART 2636--LIMITATIONS ON OUTSIDE EARNED INCOME, EMPLOYMENT AND 
AFFILIATIONS FOR CERTAIN NONCAREER EMPLOYEES

0
5. The authority citation for part 2636 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government Act of 1978); 
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) and Sec. 701, Pub. L. 114-74 (Federal Civil Penalties 
Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015); 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.


0
6. Section 2636.104 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  2636.104  Civil, disciplinary and other action.

    (a) Civil action. Except when the employee engages in conduct in 
good faith reliance upon an advisory opinion issued under Sec.  
2636.103, an employee who engages in any conduct in violation of the 
prohibitions, limitations and restrictions contained in this part may 
be subject to civil action under 5 U.S.C. app. 504(a) and a civil 
monetary penalty of not more than the amounts set in Table 1 to this 
section, as adjusted in accordance with the inflation adjustment 
procedures prescribed in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, or the amount of the compensation 
the individual received for the prohibited conduct, whichever is 
greater.

                       Table 1 to Sec.   2636.104
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Date of violation                         Penalty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Violation occurring between Sept. 29, 1999 and Nov. 2,           $11,000
 2015...................................................
Violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015..................          20,489
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-00479 Filed 1-14-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6345-03-P