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Principles of Ethical Conduct: Federal Employees Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Public service is a public trust. Federal employees must always place loyalty to high ethical standards above private gain. Unders­tanding and observing ethics rules are essential to fulfilling that trust. Print and sign a certif­ication of completion and bring it with you on your first day of employ­ment.


1. Public service is a public trust; employees must place loyalty to the Consti­tution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.
2. Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the consci­entious perfor­mance of duty.
3. Employees shall not engage in financial transa­ctions using nonpublic Government inform­ation or allow the improper use of such inform­ation to further any private interest.
4. Employee shall not, except as permitted by the Standards of Ethical Conduct, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee's agency, or whose interests may be substa­ntially affected by the perfor­mance or nonper­for­mance of the employee's duties.
5. Employees shall put forth honest effort in the perfor­mance of their duties.
6. Employees shall not knowingly make unauth­orized commit­ments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Govern­ment.
7. Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
8. Employees shall act impart­ially and not give prefer­ential treatment to any private organi­zation or indivi­dual.
9. Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activi­ties.
10. Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities - including seeking or negoti­ating for employment - that conflict with official Government duties and respon­sib­ili­ties.
11. Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to approp­riate author­ities.
12. Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obliga­tions as citizens, including all financial obliga­tions, especially those imposed by law, such as Federal, state, or local taxes.
13. Employees shall adhere to all laws and regula­tions that provide equal opport­unity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
14. Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Whether particular circum­stances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspe­ctive of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.

US Office of Government Ethics


These principles form the basis for the standards of ethical conduct regulation (5 C.F.R. part 2635) that is discussed and illust­rated by examples on the following pages. A violation of these rules could result in discip­linary action or, for certain offenses, prosec­ution under related criminal statutes on conflicts of interest.