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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of January 16, 2020

Title 30Chapter VIISubchapter A → Part 706


Title 30: Mineral Resources


PART 706—RESTRICTION ON FINANCIAL INTERESTS OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES


Contents
§706.1   Purpose.
§706.2   Objectives.
§706.3   Definitions.
§706.4   Authority.
§706.5   Responsibility.
§706.6   Penalties.
§706.11   Who shall file.
§706.13   When to file.
§706.15   Where to file.
§706.17   What to report.
§706.18   Gifts and gratuities.
§706.19   Resolving prohibited interests.
§706.21   Appeals procedures.

Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.

Source: 42 FR 56060, Oct. 20, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

§706.1   Purpose.

This part sets forth the minimum policies and procedures to be followed by Federal employees to satisfy the requirements of section 201(f) of the Act. The requirements of this part are in addition to Executive Order 11222 of May 8, 1965, and other applicable regulations related to conflict of interest. Section 201(f) prohibits certain Federal employees from having any direct or indirect financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations. The regulations of this part are applicable to Federal employees as defined in §706.3.

§706.2   Objectives.

The objectives of this part are:

(a) To ensure that affected Federal agencies adopt a standard program for implementing the provisions in section 201(f) of the Act.

(b) To establish methods which will ensure, as required by section 201(f) of the Act, that each Federal employee who performs any function or duty under the Act does not have a direct or indirect financial interest in an underground or surface coal mining operation.

(c) To establish the methods by which the monitoring, enforcing and reporting responsibilities of the Director and the Secretary of the Interior under section 201(f) will be accomplished.

§706.3   Definitions.

Act. Means the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Pub. L. 95-87.

Coal mining operation. Means the business of developing, producing, preparing or loading bituminous coal, subbituminous coal, anthracite or lignite or of reclaiming the areas upon which such activities occur.

Direct financial interest. Means ownership or part ownership by an employee of lands, stocks, bonds, debentures, warrants, partnership shares, or other holdings and also means any other arrangement where the employee may benefit from his or her holding in or salary from coal mining operations. Direct financial interests include employment, pensions, creditor, real property and other financial relationships.

Director. Means the Director or Acting Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Employee. Means any person employed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement within the U.S. Department of the Interior and any other person employed by the Federal Government who performs functions or duties under the Act without regard to the duration or nature of his or her appointment.

Indirect financial interest. Means the same financial relationships as for direct ownership, but where the employee reaps the benefits of such interests, including interests held by his or her spouse, minor child and other relatives, including inlaws, residing in the employee's home. The employee will not be deemed to have an indirect financial interest if there is no relationship between the employee's functions or duties and the coal mining operation in which the spouse, minor children or other resident relatives hold a financial interest.

Office. Means the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Other Federal agency. Means any executive Federal agency or office or part thereof not a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and includes but is not limited to, the following agencies: The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, the Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Energy Research and Development Administration.

Performing any function or duty under this act. Means those decisions or actions, which if performed or not performed by an employee, affect the programs under the Act.

Prohibited financial interest. Means any direct or indirect financial interest in any coal mining operation.

Secretary. Means the Secretary of the Interior.

§706.4   Authority.

(a) The Director is authorized by Pub. L. 95-87 to:

(1) Establish the methods by which the provisions in section 201(f) of the Act will be monitored and enforced;

(2) Establish appropriate provisions for all employees who perform any function or duty under the Act to file a statement and supplements thereto concerning their financial interests which may be affected by section 201(f); and

(3) Report annually to the Congress on the actions taken and not taken during the preceding calendar year under section 201(f) of the Act.

(b) Other Federal agencies with employees who perform functions or duties under the Act may adopt financial interest regulations pursuant to the Act which are consistent with the requirements in this part. If any such agency does not adopt regulations pursuant to this part, that agency shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Director, to have the employees of that agency who perform functions or duties under the Act file their statements with the Director. The Director will review statements filed with him or her, applying the regulations of the Department of the Interior. Where the Director determines that remedial action is necessary, he or she will refer the case to the employing agency with a recommendation as to the action to be taken.

(c) The Office of Inspector General within the U.S. Department of the Interior, will conduct periodic audits of Interior's compliance with the provisions contained in section 201(f) of the Act and the provisions of this part. The Office of Inspector General will arrange for such periodic audits of other Federal agencies to be performed by the audit unit of each such agency. The audits will be conducted on a cyclical basis or upon request of the Secretary of the Interior or the Director. Copies of all audit reports and related responses on corrective actions will be provided to the Director.

[42 FR 56060, Oct. 20, 1977, as amended at 56 FR 46988, Sept. 17, 1991]

§706.5   Responsibility.

(a) The Director, the Head of each other Federal agency, and the Head of each other bureau or office within the U.S. Department of the Interior, have the following common responsibilities concerning employees within their organizations performing any functions or duties under the Act, and shall:

(1) Provide advice, assistance and counseling to employees concerning financial interest matters related to the Act;

(2) Promptly review the statement of employment and financial interests and supplements, if any, filed by each employee to determine if the employee has correctly identified those listed employment and financial interests which constitute a direct or indirect financial interest in an underground or surface coal mining operation;

(3) Certify on each statement that review has been made, that prohibited financial interests if any, have been resolved, and that no other prohibited interests have been identified from the statement;

(4) Resolve prohibited financial interest situations by promptly notifying and ordering the employee to take remedial action within 90 days, or by initiating action to impose the penalties of the Act;

(5) Furnish a blank statement by December 15 of each year to each employee required to file a statement within his or her employing organization; and

(6) Inform annually each employee required to file a statement within his or her employing organization of the name, address, and telephone number of the person whom they may contact for advice and counseling.

(b) In addition to the common responsibilities in paragraph (a) of this section the Director shall:

(1) Monitor the program by using reports requested from the Heads of other Federal agencies, from the Heads of other bureaus and offices within the U.S. Department of the Interior, and by using periodic audits performed by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior and by other Federal agencies;

(2) Prepare for the Secretary a consolidated report to the Congress as part of the annual report submitted under section 706 of the Act, on the actions taken and not taken during the preceding calendar year under section 201(f);

(3) Refer recommendations to officials of other Federal agencies concerning those cases requiring remedial action for employees of the other Federal agency who filed with the Director because that other Federal agency did not choose to adopt its own financial interest regulations pursuant to the Act.

(4) Report to the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, through the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior, cases of knowing violations of the provisions in section 201(f). The Solicitor will transfer such reports to the U.S. Department of Justice.

(5) Designate, if so desired, other qualified Office employees as assistant counselors to assist with the operational duties associated with filing and reviewing financial statements;

(6) Furnish an adequate supply of blank statements to the Heads of those other Federal agencies which decide to have their employees file with the Director; and

(7) Submit to the Department of the Interior Ethics Counselor such statistics and information he may request in accordance with 43 CFR 20.735-17 as adopted.

(c) In addition to the common responsibilities in paragraph (a) of this section, the Head of each other Federal agency with employees performing any functions or duties under the Act shall:

(1) Decide whether to adopt independent procedures for the filing and review of financial statements or to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Director that the U.S. Department of the Interior will provide and review the financial statements and recommend any necessary remedial action to the Head of the employing agency;

(2) Submit to the Director such statistics and information the Director may request to enable preparation of the required annual report to the Congress, and to ensure uniform application of the provision in section 201(f) of the Act; and

(3) Report to the Director and the U.S. Department of Justice cases of knowing violations of the provisions in section 201(f).

(d) In addition to the common responsibilities in paragraph (a), the Heads of other bureaus or offices within the U.S. Department of the Interior with employees performing any functions or duties under the Act shall:

(1) Submit to the Director such statistics and information the Director may request to enable preparation of the required annual report to Congress, and to ensure uniform application of provisions in section 201(f) of the Act;

(2) Submit to the Department of the Interior Ethics Counselor such statistics and information he may request in accordance with 43 CFR 20.735-17 as adopted, and

(3) Report to the Director cases of knowing violations of the provisions in section 201(f).

(e) Employees shall:

(1) Have no direct or indirect financial interests in coal mining operations;

(2) File a fully completed statement of employment and financial interests 120 days after these regulations become effective or upon entrance to duty, and annually thereafter on the specified filing date, and

(3) Comply with directives issued by persons responsible for approving each statement and comply with directives issued by those persons responsible for ordering remedial action.

[42 FR 56060, Oct. 20, 1977, as amended at 56 FR 46988, Sept. 19, 1991]

§706.6   Penalties.

(a) Criminal penalties are imposed by section 201(f) of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Pub. L. 95-87, which prohibits each employee of the Office or any other Federal employee who performs any function or duty under the Act from having a direct or indirect financial interest in underground or surface coal mining operations. The Act provides that whoever knowingly violates the provisions of section 201(f) shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

(b) Regulatory penalties are imposed by this part. The provisions in section 201(f) of the Act make compliance with the financial interest requirements a condition of employment for all Office employees and for other Federal employees who perform any functions or duties under the Act. Accordingly, an employee who fails to file the required financial statement will be considered in violation of the intended employment provisions of section 201(f) and will be subject to removal from his or her position.

§706.11   Who shall file.

(a) Every employee in the Office is required to file a statement of employment and financial interests.

(b) Any other Federal employee who performs any function or duty under the Act is required to file a statement of employment and financial interests. The Head of each other Federal agency and the Heads of other bureaus and offices within the U.S. Department of the Interior shall prepare and submit a report within 60 days of the effective date of these regulations, either listing the Federal positions identified as performing functions or duties under the Act, or listing the organizational unit and showing the total number of employees within the unit who must file a statement. Revision to the listing or certification that revision is not required shall be submitted to the Director by no later than September 30 of each year. The Secretary, the Director, or the Heads of the other affected Federal organizations may revise the list by the addition or deletion of positions at any time such revisions are required to carry out the purpose of the law or regulations of this part. Additions to or deletions from the list of positions are effective upon notification to the incumbents.

§706.13   When to file.

(a) Employees performing functions or duties under the Act will be required to file:

(1) Within 120 days of the effective date of these regulations, and

(2) Annually on February 1 of each year or at such other date as may be agreed to by the Director, provided that such alternative date will allow sufficient time to obtain information needed by the Director for his or her annual report to the Congress.

(b) New employees hired, appointed, or transferred to perform functions or duties under the Act will be required to file at the time of entrance to duty.

(c) New employees are not required to file an annual statement on the subsequent annual filing date if this date occurs within two months after their initial statement was filed. For example, an employee entering duty on December 1, 1978 would file a statement on that date. Because December 1 is within two months of February 1 the employee would not be required to file his or her next annual statement until February 1, 1980.

§706.15   Where to file.

(a) Each Office employee shall file his or her statement of employment and financial interests with the Director.

(b) Each Department of the Interior employee, who is not an Office employee but does perform any function or duty under the Act, shall file a statement of employment and financial interests with his or her appropriate Ethics Counselor as identified in 43 CFR 20.735-22(c).

(c) Each employee of another Federal agency who performs a function or duty under the Act shall file a statement of employment and financial interests with the official designated by the Head of the other Federal agency.

§706.17   What to report.

(a) Each employee shall report all information required on the statement of employment and financial interests of the employee, his or her spouse, minor children, or other relatives who are fulltime residents of the employee's home. The report shall be on a form provided by the Office or on a similar form adopted by another Federal agency. The statement shall consist of three major parts, (1) a listing of all financial interests, including employment, security, real property, creditor and other financial interests held during the course of the preceding year, (2) a certification that none of the listed financial interests represent a direct or indirect financial interest in an underground or surface coal mining operation except as specifically identified and described by the employee as part of the certificate, and (3) a certification by the reviewer that the form was reviewed, that prohibited interests have been resolved, and that no other prohibited interests have been identified from the statement.

(b) Listing of all financial interests. The statement will set forth the following information regarding any financial interest:

(1) Employment. Any continuing financial interests in business entities and nonprofit organizations through a pension or retirement plan, shared income, salary or other income arrangement as a result of prior or current employment. The employee, his or her spouse or other resident relative is not required to report a statement plan from which he or she will receive a guaranteed income. A guaranteed income is one which is unlikely to be changed as a result of actions taken by the Federal Government under the Act.

(2) Securities. Any financial interest in business entities and nonprofit organizations through ownership of stock, stock options, bonds, securities or other arrangements including trusts. An employee is not required to report holdings in widely diversified mutual funds, investment clubs or regulated investment companies not specializing in underground and surface coal mining operations.

(3) Real property. Ownership, lease, royalty or other interests or rights in lands or minerals. Employees are not required to report lands developed and occupied for a personal residence.

(4) Creditors. Debts owed to business entities and nonprofit organizations. Employees are not required to report debts owed to financial institutions (banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and the like) which are chartered to provide commercial or personal credit. Also excluded are charge accounts and similar short term debts for current and ordinary household and living expenses.

(c) Employee certification, and if applicable, a listing of exceptions.

(1) The statement will provide for a signed certification by the employee that to the best of his or her knowledge, (i) none of the listed financial interests represent an interest in an underground or surface coal mining operation except as specifically identified and described as exceptions by the employee as part of the certificate, and (ii) the information shown on the statement is true, correct, and complete.

(2) An employee is expected to (i) have complete knowledge of his or her personal involvement in business enterprises such as a sole proprietorship and partnership, his or her outside employment and the outside employment of the spouse and other covered relatives, and (ii) be aware of the information contained in the annual financial statements or other corporate or business reports routinely circulated to investors or routinely made available to the public.

(3) The exceptions shown in the employee certification of the form must provide enough information for the Director, the Head of another Federal agency, or the Head of other bureaus or offices within the U.S. Department of the Interior to determine the existence of a direct or indirect financial interest. Accordingly, the exceptions should:

(i) List the financial interests;

(ii) Show the number of shares, estimated value or annual income of the financial interests; and

(iii) Include any other information which the employee believes should be considered in determining whether or not the interest represents a prohibited interest.

(4) Employees are cautioned to give serious consideration to their direct and indirect financial interests before signing the statement of certification. Signing the certification without listing known prohibited financial interests may be cause for imposing the penalties prescribed in §706.6(a).

§706.18   Gifts and gratuities.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan, or any other thing of monetary value, from a coal company which:

(1) Conducts or is seeking to conduct operations or activities that are regulated by the Federal Government; or

(2) Has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's official duty.

(b) The prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section do not apply in the context of obvious family or personal relationships, such as those between the parents, children, or spouse of the employee and the employee, when the circumstances make it clear that it is those relationships rather than the business of the persons concerned which are the motivating factors. An employee may accept:

(1) Food and refreshments of nominal value on infrequent occasions in the ordinary course of a luncheon, dinner, or other meeting where an employee may properly be in attendance, and

(2) Unsolicited advertising or promotional material, such as pens, pencils, note pads, calendars and other items of nominal value.

(c) Employees found guilty of violating the provisions of this section will be subject to administrative remedies in accordance with existing Federal regulations or policies.

§706.19   Resolving prohibited interests.

Actions to be taken by the Director, the heads of other Federal agencies, and the heads of other affected bureaus and offices within the U.S. Department of the Interior include:

(a) Remedial action to effect resolution. If an employee has a prohibited financial interest, the head of the organizational entity (Department, bureau, office, etc.) where the employee works shall promptly advise the employee that remedial action which will resolve the prohibited interest is required within 90 days.

(b) Remedial action may include: (1) Reassignment of the employee to a position which performs no function or duty under the Act, or

(2) Divestiture of the prohibited financial interest, or

(3) Other appropriate action which either eliminates the prohibited financial interest or eliminates the situation which creates the conflict.

(c) Reports of noncompliance. If 90 days after an employee is notified to take remedial action that employee is not in compliance with the requirements of the Act and these regulations, the official, other than the Director, who ordered the remedial action shall promptly report the facts of the situation to the Director. The reports to the Director shall include the original or a certified true copy of the employee's statement and any other information pertinent to the Director, including a statement of actions being taken at the time the report is made. Within 30 days of receipt of a noncompliance report, the Director shall notify the head of the employing organization and the employee involved of additional action to be taken. Actions which the Director may take include but are not limited to the granting of additional time for resolution or the initiation of action to impose the penalties prescribed by the Act.

§706.21   Appeals procedures.

Employees have the right to appeal an order for remedial action under §706.19 and shall have 30 days to exercise this right before disciplinary action is initiated.

(a) Office employees and other Department of the Interior employees may file their appeal, in writing, in accordance with the provisions in 43 CFR 20.735-25(b).

(b) Employees of other Federal agencies may file their appeal, in writing, in accordance with the established procedures of their employing agency.

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