(a) VA personnel shall not provide, with or without compensation, opinion or expert testimony in any legal proceedings concerning official VA information, subjects or activities, except on behalf of the United States or a party represented by the United States Department of Justice. Upon a showing by the requester or court or other appropriate authority that, in light of the factors listed in § 14.804, there are exceptional circumstances and that the anticipated testimony will not be adverse to the interests of the Department of Veterans Affairs or to the United States, the responsible VA official designated in § 14.807(b) may, in writing, grant special authorization for VA personnel to appear and testify. If, despite the final determination of the responsible VA official, a court of competent jurisdiction or other appropriate authority, orders the expert or opinion testimony of VA personnel, the personnel shall notify the responsible VA official of such order. If the responsible VA official determines that no further legal review of or challenge to the order will be sought, the affected VA personnel shall comply with the order. If directed by the appropriate VA official after consultation with the appropriate United States Attorney's office, however, the affected VA personnel shall respectfully decline to comply with the demand, request or order. See United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen,340 U.S. 462 (1951).
(1) If, while testifying in any legal proceeding, VA personnel are asked for expert or opinion testimony concerning official VA information, subjects or activities, which testimony has not been approved in advance in accordance with these regulations, the witness shall:
(i) Respectfully decline to answer on the grounds that such expert or opinion testimony is forbidden by these regulations;
(ii) Request an opportunity to consult with the responsible VA official mentioned in § 14.807(b) before giving such testimony;
(iii) Explain that, upon such consultation, approval for such testimony may be provided; and
(iv) Explain that providing such testimony absent such approval may expose the individual to criminal liability under 18 U.S.C. 201-209 and to disciplinary or other adverse personnel action.
(2) If the witness is then ordered by the body conducting the proceeding to provide expert or opinion testimony concerning official VA information, subjects or activities without the opportunity to consult with the appropriate VA official, the witness respectfully shall refuse to do so. See United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen,340 U.S. 462 (1951).
(c) Upon notification by the witness of a request for opinion or expert testimony concerning official VA information, subjects or activities during § 14.802(d) legal proceedings, the responsible VA official shall follow the procedures contained in this section to determine whether such testimony shall be approved.
(d) If VA personnel who are unaware of these regulations provide expert or opinion testimony concerning official VA information, subjects or activities in any legal proceeding, including one mentioned in § 14.802(d) in which the United States is not already represented, without consulting with the responsible VA official, the witness, as soon after testifying as possible, shall inform the responsible VA official of the fact that such testimony was given and provide a summary of the expert or opinion testimony given.