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e-CFR data is current as of August 11, 2020

Title 31Subtitle A → Part 31


Title 31: Money and Finance: Treasury


PART 31—TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM


Contents
§31.1   General.

Subpart A [Reserved]

Subpart B—Conflicts of Interest

§31.200   Purpose and scope.
§31.201   Definitions.
§31.211   Organizational conflicts of interest.
§31.212   Personal conflicts of interest.
§31.213   General standards.
§31.214   Limitations on concurrent activities.
§31.215   Grant of waivers.
§31.216   Communications with Treasury employees.
§31.217   Confidentiality of information.
§31.218   Enforcement.

Authority: 31 U.S.C. 321; Pub. L. 110-343; 122 Stat. 3765.

Source: 76 FR 61049, Oct. 3, 2011, unless otherwise noted.

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§31.1   General.

This part sets forth regulations to implement and administer the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-343; 122 Stat. 3765).

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Subpart A [Reserved]

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Subpart B—Conflicts of Interest

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§31.200   Purpose and scope.

(a) Purpose. This regulation sets forth standards to address and manage or to prohibit conflicts of interest that may arise in connection with the administration and execution of the authorities under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), established under sections 101 and 102 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA).

(b) Scope. This regulation addresses actual and potential conflicts of interest, or circumstances that give rise to the appearance of a conflict of interest, that may arise from contracts and financial agency agreements between private sector entities and the Treasury for services under the TARP, other than administrative services identified by the TARP Chief Compliance Officer.

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§31.201   Definitions.

As used in this part:

Arrangement means a contract or financial agency agreement between a private sector entity and the Treasury for services under the TARP, other than administrative services identified by the TARP Chief Compliance Officer.

Dependent child means a son, daughter, stepson or stepdaughter who is either (a) Unmarried, under age 21, and living in the individual's house, or (b) considered a “dependent” of the individual under the U.S. tax code.

EESA means the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, as amended.

Key individual means an individual providing services to a private sector entity who participates personally and substantially, through, for example, decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, or the rendering of advice, in the negotiation or performance of, or monitoring for compliance under, the arrangement with the Treasury. For purposes of the definition of key individual, the words “personally and substantially” shall have the same meaning and interpretation as such words have in 5 CFR 2635.402(b)(4).

Organizational conflict of interest means a situation in which the retained entity has an interest or relationship that could cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the retained entity's objectivity or judgment to perform under the arrangement, or its ability to represent the Treasury. Without limiting the scope of this definition, organizational conflicts of interest may include the following situations:

(1) A prior or current arrangement between the Treasury and the retained entity that may give the retained entity an unfair competitive advantage in obtaining a new arrangement with Treasury.

(2) The retained entity is, or represents, a party in litigation against the Treasury relating to activities under the EESA.

(3) The retained entity provides services for Treasury relating to the acquisition, valuation, disposition, or management of troubled assets at the same time it provides those services for itself or others.

(4) The retained entity gains, or stands to gain, an unfair competitive advantage in private business arrangements or investments by using information provided under an arrangement or obtained or developed pursuant to an arrangement with Treasury.

(5) The retained entity is a potential candidate for relief under EESA, is currently participating in an EESA program, or has a financial interest that could be affected by its performance of the arrangement.

(6) The retained entity maintains a business or financial relationship with institutions that have received funds from Treasury pursuant to the EESA.

Personal conflict of interest means a personal, business, or financial interest of an individual, his or her spouse or any dependent child that could adversely affect the individual's ability to perform under the arrangement, his or her objectivity or judgment in such performance, or his or her ability to represent the interests of the Treasury.

Related entity means the parent company and subsidiaries of a retained entity, any entity holding a controlling interest in the retained entity, and any entity in which the retained entity holds a controlling interest.

Retained entity means the individual or entity seeking an arrangement with the Treasury or having such an arrangement with the Treasury, but does not include special government employees. A “retained entity” includes the subcontractors and consultants it hires to perform services under the arrangement.

Special government employee means an officer or employee serving the Treasury, serving with or without compensation, for a period not to exceed 130 days during any 365-day period on a full-time or intermittent basis.

Treasury means the United States Department of the Treasury.

Treasury employee means an officer or employee of the Treasury, including a special government employee, or an employee of any other government agency who is properly acting on behalf of the Treasury.

Troubled assets, for purposes of this rule, shall have the same meaning as set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5202(9).

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§31.211   Organizational conflicts of interest.

(a) Retained entity's responsibility. A retained entity working under an arrangement shall not permit an actual or potential organizational conflict of interest (including a situation in which the retained entity has an interest or relationship that could cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the retained entity's objectivity or judgment to perform under the arrangement or its ability to represent the Treasury), unless the conflict has been disclosed to Treasury under this Section and mitigated under a plan approved by Treasury, or Treasury has waived the conflict. With respect to arrangements for the acquisition, valuation, management, or disposition of troubled assets, the retained entity shall maintain a compliance program reasonably designed to detect and prevent violations of federal securities laws and organizational conflicts of interest.

(b) Information required about the retained entity. As early as possible before entering an arrangement to perform services for Treasury under the EESA, a retained entity shall provide Treasury with sufficient information to evaluate any organizational conflicts of interest. The information shall include the following:

(1) The retained entity's relationship to any related entities.

(2) The categories of troubled assets owned or controlled by the retained entity and its related entities, if the arrangement relates to the acquisition, valuation, disposition, or management of troubled assets.

(3) Information concerning all other business or financial interests of the retained entity, its proposed subcontractors, or its related entities, which could conflict with the retained entity's obligations under the arrangement with Treasury.

(4) A description of all organizational conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest.

(5) A written detailed plan to mitigate all organizational conflicts of interest, along with supporting documents.

(6) Any other information or documentation about the retained entity, its proposed subcontractors, or its related entities that Treasury may request.

(c) Plans to mitigate organizational conflicts of interest. The steps necessary to mitigate a conflict may depend on a variety of factors, including the type of conflict, the scope of work under the arrangement, and the organizational structure of the retained entity. Some conflicts may be so substantial and pervasive that they cannot be mitigated. Retained entities should consider the following measures when designing a mitigation plan:

(1) Adopting, implementing, and enforcing appropriate information barriers to prevent unauthorized people from learning nonpublic information relating to the arrangement and isolate key individuals from learning how their performance under the arrangement could affect the financial interests of the retained entity, its clients, and related entities.

(2) Divesting assets that give rise to conflicts of interest.

(3) Terminating or refraining from business relationships that give rise to conflicts of interest.

(4) If consistent with the terms of the arrangement and permitted by Treasury, refraining from performing specific types of work under the arrangement.

(5) Any other steps appropriate under the circumstances.

(d) Certification required. When the retained entity provides the information required by paragraph (b) of this section, the retained entity shall certify that the information is complete and accurate in all material respects.

(e) Determination required. Prior to entering into any arrangement, the Treasury must conclude that no organizational conflict of interest exists that has not been adequately mitigated, or if a conflict cannot be adequately mitigated, that Treasury has expressly waived it. Once Treasury has approved a conflicts mitigation plan, the plan becomes an enforceable term under the arrangement.

(f) Subsequent notification. The retained entity has a continuing obligation to search for, report, and mitigate any and all potential organizational conflicts of interest that have not already been disclosed to Treasury under a plan approved by Treasury or previously waived by Treasury. The retained entity shall search regularly for conflicts and shall, within five (5) business days after learning of a potential organizational conflict of interest, disclose the potential conflict of interest in writing to the TARP Chief Compliance Officer. The disclosure shall describe the steps it has taken or proposes to take to mitigate the potential conflict or request a waiver from Treasury.

(g) Periodic Certification. No later than one year after the arrangement's effective date, and at least annually thereafter, the retained entity shall certify in writing that it has no organizational conflicts of interest, or explain in detail the extent to which it can certify, and describe the actions it has taken and plans to take to mitigate any conflicts. Treasury may require more frequent certifications, depending on the arrangement.

(h) Retention of information. A retained entity shall retain the information needed to comply with this section and to support the certifications required by this section for three (3) years following termination or expiration of the arrangement, and shall make that information available to Treasury upon request. Such retained information shall include, but is not limited to, written documentation regarding the factors the retained entity considered in its mitigation plan as well as written documentation addressing the results of the retained entities' periodic review of the mitigation plan.

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§31.212   Personal conflicts of interest.

(a) Retained entity's responsibility. A retained entity shall ensure that all key individuals have no personal conflicts of interest (including a situation that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the individual's ability to perform, his or her objectivity or judgment in such performance, or his or her ability to represent the interests of the Treasury), unless mitigation measures have neutralized the conflict, or Treasury has waived the conflict.

(b) Information required. Before key individuals begin work under an arrangement, a retained entity shall obtain information from each of them in writing about their personal, business, and financial relationships, as well as those of their spouses and dependent children that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the individual's ability to perform, his or her objectivity or judgment in such performance, or his or her ability to represent the interests of the Treasury. When the arrangement concerns the acquisition, valuation, management, or disposition of troubled assets, the information shall be no less extensive than that required of certain new federal employees under Office of Government Ethics Form 450. Treasury may extend the time necessary to meet these requirements in urgent and compelling circumstances.

(c) Disqualification. The retained entity shall disqualify key individuals with personal conflicts of interest from performing work pursuant to the arrangement unless mitigation measures have neutralized the conflict to the satisfaction of the TARP Chief Compliance Officer. The retained entity may seek a waiver from the TARP Chief Compliance Officer to allow a key individual with a personal conflict of interest to work under the arrangement.

(d) Initial certification. No later than ten business days after the effective date of the arrangement, the retained entity shall certify to the Treasury that all key individuals performing services under the arrangement have no personal conflicts of interest, or are subject to a mitigation plan or waiver approved by Treasury. In making this certification, the retained entity may rely on the information obtained pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, unless the retained entity knows or should have known that the information provided is false or inaccurate. Treasury may extend the time necessary to meet these requirements where the retained entity has a large number of key individuals, or in other appropriate circumstances.

(e) Periodic certification. No later than one year after the arrangement's effective date, and at least annually thereafter, the retained entity shall renew the certification required by paragraph (d) of this section. The retained entity shall provide more frequent certifications to Treasury when requested.

(f) Retained entities' responsibilities. The retained entity shall adopt and implement procedures designed to search for, report, and mitigate personal conflicts of interest on a continuous basis.

(g) Subsequent notification. Within five business days after learning of a personal conflict of interest, the retained entity shall notify Treasury of the conflict and describe the steps it has taken and will take in the future to neutralize the conflict.

(h) Retention of information. A retained entity shall retain the information needed to comply with this section and to support the certifications required by this section for three years following termination or expiration of the arrangement, and shall make that information available to Treasury upon request.

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§31.213   General standards.

(a) During the time period in which a retained entity is seeking an arrangement and during the term of any arrangement:

(1) The retained entity's officers, partners, or employees performing work under the arrangement shall not accept or solicit favors, gifts, or other items of monetary value above $20 from any individual or entity whom the retained entity, officer, partner, or employee knows is seeking official action from the Treasury in connection with the arrangement or has interests which may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of duties to the Treasury under the arrangement, provided that the total value of gifts from the same person or entity does not exceed $50 in any calendar year.

(2) The retained entity and its officers and partners, and its employees shall not improperly use or allow the improper use of Treasury property for the personal benefit of any individual or entity other than the Treasury.

(3) The retained entity and its officers and partners, and its employees shall not make any unauthorized promise or commitment on behalf of the Treasury.

(b) Any individual who acts for or on behalf of the Treasury pursuant to an arrangement shall comply with 18 U.S.C. 201, which generally prohibits the direct or indirect acceptance by a public official of anything of value in return for being influenced in, or because of, an official act. Violators are subject to criminal penalties.

(c) Any individual or entity that provides information or makes a certification to the Treasury that is relating to services under EESA or required pursuant to 31 CFR part 31 is subject to 18 U.S.C. 1001, which generally prohibits the making of any false or fraudulent statement to a federal officer. Upon receipt of information indicating that any individual or entity has violated any provision of title 18 of the U.S. Code or other provision of criminal law, Treasury shall refer such information to the Department of Justice and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

(d) A retained entity shall disclose to the SIGTARP, any credible evidence, in connection with the designation, services, or closeout of the arrangement, that an employee, or contractor of the retained entity has committed a violation of Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity violations found in Title 18 of the United States Code, or a violation of the civil False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. 3729-3733).

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§31.214   Limitations on concurrent activities.

Treasury has determined that certain market activities by a retained entity during the arrangement are likely to cause impermissible conflicts of interest. Accordingly, the following restrictions shall apply unless waived pursuant to section 31.215, or Treasury agrees in writing to specific mitigation measures.

(a) If the retained entity assists Treasury in the acquisition, valuation, management, or disposition of specific troubled assets, the retained entity and key individuals shall not purchase or offer to purchase such assets from Treasury, or assist anyone else in purchasing or offering to purchase such troubled assets from the Treasury, during the term of its arrangement.

(b) If the retained entity advises Treasury with respect to a program for the purchase of troubled assets, the retained entity and key individuals shall not, during the term of the arrangement, sell or offer to sell, or act on behalf of anyone with respect to a sale or offer to sell, any asset to Treasury under the terms of that program.

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§31.215   Grant of waivers.

The TARP Chief Compliance Officer may waive a requirement under this part that is not otherwise imposed by law when it is clear from the totality of the circumstances that a waiver is in the government's interest.

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§31.216   Communications with Treasury employees.

(a) Prohibitions. During the course of any process for selecting a retained entity (including any process using non-competitive procedures), a retained entity participating in the process and its representatives shall not:

(1) Directly or indirectly make any offer or promise of future employment or business opportunity to, or engage directly or indirectly in any discussion of future employment or business opportunity with, any Treasury employee with personal or direct responsibility for that procurement.

(2) Offer, give, or promise to offer or give, directly or indirectly, any money, gratuity, or other thing of value to any Treasury employee, except as permitted by the Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 CFR part 2635.

(3) Solicit or obtain from any Treasury employee, directly or indirectly, any information that is not public and was prepared for use by Treasury for the purpose of evaluating an offer, quotation, or response to enter into an arrangement.

(b) Certification. Before a retained entity enters a new arrangement, the retained entity must certify to the following:

(1) The retained entity is aware of the prohibitions of paragraph (a) of this section and, to the best of its knowledge after making reasonable inquiry, the retained entity has no information concerning a violation or possible violation of paragraph (a) of this section.

(2) Each officer, employee, and representative of the retained entity who participated personally and substantially in preparing and submitting a bid, offer, proposal, or request for modification of the arrangement has certified that he or she:

(i) Is familiar with and will comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and

(ii) Has no information of any violations or possible violations of paragraph (a) of this section, and will report immediately to the retained entity any subsequently gained information concerning a violation or possible violation of paragraph (a) of this section.

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§31.217   Confidentiality of information.

(a) Nonpublic information defined. Any information that Treasury provides to a retained entity under an arrangement, or that the retained entity obtains or develops pursuant to the arrangement, shall be deemed nonpublic until the Treasury determines otherwise in writing, or the information becomes part of the body of public information from a source other than the retained entity.

(b) Prohibitions. The retained entity shall not:

(1) Disclose nonpublic information to anyone except as required to perform the retained entity's obligations pursuant to the arrangement, or pursuant to a lawful court order or valid subpoena after giving prior notice to Treasury.

(2) Use or allow the use of any nonpublic information to further any private interest other than as contemplated by the arrangement.

(c) Retained entity's responsibility. A retained entity shall take appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of nonpublic information and to prevent its inappropriate use. The retained entity shall document these measures in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance, and shall maintain this documentation for three years after the arrangement has terminated. The retained entity shall notify the TARP Chief Compliance Officer in writing within five business days of detecting a violation of the prohibitions in paragraph (b), above. The security measures required by this paragraph shall include:

(1) Security measures to prevent unauthorized access to facilities and storage containers where nonpublic information is stored.

(2) Security measures to detect and prevent unauthorized access to computer equipment and data storage devices that store or transmit nonpublic information.

(3) Periodic training to ensure that persons receiving nonpublic information know their obligation to maintain its confidentiality and to use it only for purposes contemplated by the arrangement.

(4) Programs to ensure compliance with federal securities laws, including laws relating to insider trading, when the arrangement relates to the acquisition, valuation, management, or disposition of troubled assets.

(5) A certification from each key individual stating that he or she will comply with the requirements in section 31.217(b). The retained entity shall obtain this certification, in the form of a nondisclosure agreement, before a key individual performs work under the arrangement, and then annually thereafter.

(d) Certification. No later than ten business days after the effective date of the arrangement, the retained entity shall certify to the Treasury that it has received a certification form from each key individual stating that he or she will comply with the requirements in §31.217(b). In making this certification, the retained entity may rely on the information obtained pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, unless the retained entity knows or should have known that the information provided is false or inaccurate.

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§31.218   Enforcement.

(a) Compliance with these rules concerning conflicts of interest is of the utmost importance. In the event a retained entity or any individual or entity providing information pursuant to 31 U.S.C. part 31 violates any of these rules, Treasury may impose or pursue one or more of the following sanctions:

(1) Rejection of work tainted by an organizational conflict of interest or a personal conflict of interest and denial of payment for that work.

(2) Termination of the arrangement for default.

(3) Debarment of the retained entity for Federal government contracting and/or disqualification of the retained entity from future financial agency agreements.

(4) Imposition of any other remedy available under the terms of the arrangement or at law.

(5) In the event of violation of a criminal statute, referral to the Department of Justice for prosecution of the retained entity and/or its officers or employees. In such cases, the Department of Justice may make direct and derivative use of any statements and information provided by any entity, its representatives and employees or any individual, to the extent permitted by law.

(b) To the extent Treasury has discretion in selecting or imposing a remedy, it will give significant consideration to a retained entity's prompt disclosure of any violation of these rules.

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