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Title 47Chapter ISubchapter APart 19 → Subpart B


Title 47: Telecommunication
PART 19—EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONDUCT


Subpart B—Employee Responsibilities and Conduct


Contents
§19.735-201   Outside employment and other activity prohibited by the Communications Act.
§19.735-202   Financial interests prohibited by the Communications Act.
§19.735-203   Nonpublic information.

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§19.735-201   Outside employment and other activity prohibited by the Communications Act.

Under section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A)(iv), no employee of the Commission may be in the employ of or hold any official relation to any person significantly regulated by the Commission under that Act. In addition, the Commissioners are prohibited by section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(4), from engaging in any other business, vocation, profession, or employment.

Note: Under the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Federal Communications Commission, at 5 CFR 3901.102, professional employees of the Commission must obtain approval before engaging in the private practice of the same profession as that of the employee's official position, whether or not for compensation.

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§19.735-202   Financial interests prohibited by the Communications Act.

(a) No Commissioner shall have a pecuniary interest in any hearing or proceeding in which he participates. (47 U.S.C. 154(j).)

(b)(1) Section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A), provides:

No member of the Commission or person employed by the Commission shall:

(i) Be financially interested in any company or other entity engaged in the manufacture or sale of telecommunications equipment which is subject to regulation by the Commission;

(ii) Be financially interested in any company or other entity engaged in the business of communication by wire or radio or in the use of the electromagnetic spectrum;

(iii) Be financially interested in any company or other entity which controls any company or other entity specified in clause (i) or clause (ii), or which derives a significant portion of its total income from ownership of stocks, bonds, or other securities of any such company or other entity; or

(iv) Be employed by, hold any official relation to, or own any stocks, bonds, or other securities of, any person significantly regulated by the Commission under this act; except that the prohibitions established in this subparagraph shall apply only to financial interests in any company or other entity which has a significant interest in communications, manufacturing, or sales activities which are subject to regulation by the Commission.

(2) To determine whether an entity has a significant interest in communications related activities that are subject to Commission regulations, the Commission shall consider, without excluding other relevant factors, the criteria in section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(3). These criteria include:

(i) The revenues and efforts directed toward the telecommunications aspect of the business;

(ii) The extent of Commission regulation over the entity involved;

(iii) The potential economic impact of any Commission action on that particular entity; and

(iv) The public perception regarding the business activities of the company.

(3)(i) Section 4(b) of the Communications Act, at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(B)(i), permits the Commission to waive the prohibitions at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A). The Act's waiver provision at 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(B)(i) provides:

The Commission shall have authority to waive, from time to time, the application of the prohibitions established in subparagraph (A) of section 4(b) to persons employed by the Commission if the Commission determines that the financial interests of a person which are involved in a particular case are minimal, except that such waiver authority shall be subject to the provisions of section 208 of title 18, United States Code. The waiver authority established in this subparagraph shall not apply with respect to members of the Commission.

(ii)(A) Requests for waiver of the provisions of 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A) may be submitted by an employee to the Head of the employee's Office or Bureau, who will endorse the request with an appropriate recommendation and forward the request to the Designated Agency Ethics Official. The Designated Agency Ethics Official has delegated authority to waive the applicability of 47 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(A).

(B) All requests for waiver shall be in writing and in the required detail. The dollar value for the financial interest sought to be waived shall be expressed explicitly or in categories of value provided at 5 CFR 2634.301(d).

(C) Copies of all waiver requests and the action taken thereon shall be maintained by the Designated Agency Ethics Official. In any case in which the Commission exercises the waiver authority established in section 4(b) of the Communications Act, the Commission shall publish notice of such action in the Federal Register and shall furnish notice of such action to the appropriate committees of each House of the Congress. Each such notice shall include information regarding the identity of the person receiving the waiver, the position held by such person, and the nature of the financial interests which are the subject of the waiver.

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§19.735-203   Nonpublic information.

(a) Except as authorized in writing by the Chairman pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, or otherwise as authorized by the Commission or its rules, nonpublic information shall not be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to any person outside the Commission. Such information includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) The content of agenda items (except for compliance with the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b); or

(2) Actions or decisions made by the Commission at closed meetings or by circulation prior to the public release of such information by the Commission.

(b) An employee engaged in outside teaching, lecturing, or writing shall not use nonpublic information obtained as a result of his Government employment in connection with such teaching, lecturing, or writing except when the Chairman gives written authorization for the use of that nonpublic information on the basis that its use is in the public interest.

(c) This section does not prohibit the disclosure of an official Commission meeting agenda listing titles and summaries of items for discussion at an open Commission meeting. Also, this section does not prohibit the disclosure of information about the scheduling of Commission agenda items.

(d) Any person regulated by or practicing before the Commission coming into possession of written nonpublic information (including written material transmitted in electronic form) as described in paragraph (a) of this section under circumstances where it appears that its release was inadvertent or otherwise unauthorized shall promptly return the written information to the Commission's Office of the Inspector General without further distribution or use of the written nonpublic information. Any person regulated by or practicing before the Commission who willfully violates this section by failing to promptly notify the Commission's Office of the Inspector General of the receipt of written nonpublic information (including written material transmitted in electronic form) that he knew or should have known was released inadvertently or in any otherwise unauthorized manner may be subject to appropriate sanctions by the Commission. In the case of attorneys practicing before the Commission, such sanctions may include disciplinary action under the provisions of §1.24 of this chapter.

Note: Employees also should refer to the provisions of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, at 5 CFR 2635.703, on the use of nonpublic information. Additionally, employees should refer to §19.735-107 of this part, which provides that employees of the Commission who violate this part may be subject to disciplinary action which may be in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law. As is the case with section 2635.703, this part is intended only to cover knowing unauthorized disclosures of nonpublic information.

[61 FR 56112, Oct. 31, 1996, as amended at 65 FR 66185, Nov. 3, 2000]

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