Disclosing your sister…


When I was at the Center for Public Integrity, we once asked the Pentagon for some financial disclosure forms and were told that yes, they had the forms on file, but no, we couldn’t see them, because these disclosures were not to be dislcosed to the public.

This “kissing your sister” form of disclosure, as I thought of it then, came to mind as I read some of the disclosure provisions in the Executive Refrom Act, particularly those that call for federal procurement officials to disclose all job offers made to them or their family members by contractors (see page 13 of the PDF).

This is obviously a response to some of the higher profile procurement corruption we’ve seen, including the Boeing/Darlene Druyun affair and the MZM/Randy Duke Cunningham/Pentagon scandal. I was surprised to see the current regulation (available here) which reads (I’ve bolded the important points for ease of use):

(1) If an agency official who is participating personally and substantially in a Federal agency procurement for a contract in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold contacts or is contacted by a person who is a bidder or offeror in that Federal agency procurement regarding possible non-Federal employment for that official, the official shall

(A) promptly report the contact in writing to the official’s supervisor and to the designated agency ethics official (or designee) of the agency in which the official is employed; and

(B)(i) reject the possibility of non-Federal employment; or

(ii) disqualify himself or herself from further personal and substantial participation in that Federal agency procurement until such time as the agency has authorized the official to resume participation in such procurement, in accordance with the requirements of section 208 of title 18 and applicable agency regulations on the grounds that –

(I) the person is no longer a bidder or offeror in that Federal agency procurement; or

(II) all discussions with the bidder or offeror regarding possible non-Federal employment have terminated without an agreement or arrangement for employment.

(2) Each report required by this subsection shall be retained by the agency for not less than two years following the submission of the report. All such reports shall be made available to the public upon request, except that any part of a report that is exempt from the disclosure requirements of section 552 of title 5 under subsection (b)(1) of such section may be withheld from disclosure to the public.

So I’m going to spend a good part of the rest of today and some time tomorrow trying to track down reports of those contacts in a couple of executive branch departments and agencies — I’ll let you know how available they are.