(a) With the prior written approval of OGE, an agency may use an alternative procedure in lieu of filing the OGE Form 450 or OGE Optional Form 450-A. The alternative procedure may be an agency-specific form to be filed in place thereof. An agency must submit for approval a description of its proposed alternative procedure to OGE.
Example to paragraph (a).
A nonsupervisory auditor at an agency is regularly assigned to cases involving possible loan improprieties by financial institutions. Prior to undertaking each enforcement review, the auditor reviews the file to determine if she, her spouse, minor or dependent child, or any general partner, organization in which she serves as an officer, director, trustee, employee, or general partner, or organization with which she is negotiating or has an agreement or an arrangement for future employment, or a close friend or relative is a subject of the investigation, or will be in any way affected by the investigation. Once she determines that there is no such relationship, she signs and dates a certification which verifies that she has reviewed the file and has determined that no conflict of interest exists. She then files the certification with the head of her auditing division at the agency. On the other hand, if she cannot execute the certification, she informs the head of her auditing division. In response, the division will either reassign the case or review the conflicting interest to determine whether a waiver would be appropriate. This alternative procedure, if approved by the Office of Government Ethics in writing, may be used in lieu of requiring the auditor to file a confidential financial disclosure report.
(b) An agency may use the OGE Optional Form 450-A (Confidential Certificate of No New Interests) in place of the OGE Form 450 if the agency head or designee determines it is adequate to prevent possible conflicts of interest.This form may be used by eligible filers, as described in this paragraph, who can certify, after reexamining their most recent previous OGE Form 450, that they (and their spouse and dependent children) have acquired no new interests required to be reported on OGE Form 450, and that they have not changed jobs (no new position description or other significant change in duties) at their agency since filing that previous report. OGE Optional Form 450-A will be used under the following conditions:
(1) OGE Optional Form 450-A will only be made available for use by current employees who are not special Government employees.
(2) OGE Optional Form 450-A will only be used by incumbent filers, as described in § 2634.903(a) of this subpart, in lieu of filing an annual OGE Form 450, who have a previous OGE Form 450 on file with their agency for the position they currently hold. Its due date is as specified in § 2634.903(a), unless extended under § 2634.903(d).
(3) As indicated on the OGE Optional Form 450-A, eligible filers may use OGE Optional Form 450-A, if applicable to their circumstances, or they may file a new OGE Form 450, at their option. Therefore, a blank OGE Form 450 and its accompanying written instructions should ordinarily be distributed to them, along with the blank OGE Optional Form 450-A. The instructions to OGE Form 450 will also provide guidance on what is meant by “reportable” interests on OGE Optional Form 450-A. In lieu of distributing a blank OGE Form 450 and its instructions, agencies may choose to develop separate guidance on the meaning of “reportable” interests, or they may refer certificate users to guidance contained in any available source, such as the Office of Government Ethics' Web site on the Internet or agency-approved electronic software for OGE Form 450. Filers would then also have to be advised of where to obtain a blank OGE Form 450, if needed.
(4) OGE Optional Form 450-A may be used by eligible filers for a maximum of three consecutive years before they are required to complete a new OGE Form 450 every fourth year, on a uniform basis for all incumbent (annual) filers, as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section. Agencies may, however, elect to permit use of the OGE Optional Form 450-A for only one year (or two years), and to require a new OGE Form 450 every second (or third) year, on a uniform basis for all incumbent filers, as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.
(5) In each year divisible by four, beginning in 2000 (or divisible by two or three, beginning in 1998, for agencies that choose one of the more frequent options described in the second sentence of paragraph (b)(4) of this section), all incumbent filers, as described in § 2634.903(a) of this subpart, must file a new OGE Form 450 rather than OGE Optional Form 450-A, regardless of how recently they may have filed an OGE Form 450 (either as a new entrant or as an annual filer who was not eligible to use, or chose not to use, the optional certificate).
(6) When submitting OGE Optional Form 450-A, filers are not required to attach a copy of their previous OGE Form 450, unless their agency determines that it is necessary. Filers should be encouraged, however, to retain a copy of their previous OGE Form 450, so that it will be readily available for their examination prior to completing an OGE Optional Form 450-A.
[57 FR 11826, Apr. 7, 1992; 57 FR 21855, May 22, 1992, as amended at 62 FR 33976, June 24, 1997; 71 FR 28235, May 16, 2006]
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