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Title 5

Displaying title 5, up to date as of 9/23/2021. Title 5 was last amended 9/21/2021.

Title 5

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§ 2640.203 Miscellaneous exemptions.

(a) Hiring decisions. An employee may participate in a hiring decision involving an applicant who is currently employed by a corporation that issues publicly traded securities, if the disqualifying financial interest arises from:

(1) Ownership of publicly traded securities issued by the corporation; or

(2) Participation in a pension plan sponsored by the corporation.

(b) Employees on leave from institutions of higher education. An employee on a leave of absence from an institution of higher education may participate in any particular matter of general applicability affecting the financial interests of the institution from which he is on leave, provided that the matter will not have a special or distinct effect on that institution other than as part of a class.

Example 1:

An employee at the Department of Defense (DOD) is on a leave of absence from his position as a tenured Professor of Engineering at the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. While at DOD, he is assigned to assist in developing a regulation which will contain new standards for the oversight of grants given by DOD. Even though the University of California at Berkeley is a DOD grantee, and will be affected by these new monitoring standards, the employee may participate in developing the standards because UC Berkeley will be affected only as part of the class of all DOD grantees. However, if the new standards would affect the employee's own financial interest, such as by affecting his tenure or his salary, the employee could not participate in the matter unless he first obtains an individual waiver under section 208(b)(1).

Example 2:

An employee on leave from a university could not participate in the development of an agency program of grants specifically designed to facilitate research in jet propulsion systems where the employee's university is one of just two or three universities likely to receive a grant under the new program. Even though the grant announcement is open to all universities, the employee's university is among the very few known to have facilities and equipment adequate to conduct the research. The matter would have a distinct effect on the institution other than as part of a class.

(c) Multi-campus institutions of higher education. An employee may participate in any particular matter affecting one campus of a State multi-campus institution of higher education, if the employee's disqualifying financial interest is employment in a position with no multi-campus responsibilities at a separate campus of the same multi-campus institution.

Example 1:

A special Government employee (SGE) member of an advisory committee convened by the National Science Foundation is a full-time professor in the School of Engineering at one campus of a State university. The SGE may participate in formulating the committee's recommendation to award a grant to a researcher at another campus of the same State university system.

Example 2:

A member of the Board of Regents at a State university is asked to serve on an advisory committee established by the Department of Health and Human Services to consider applications for grants for human genome research projects. An application from another university that is part of the same State system will be reviewed by the committee. Unless he receives an individual waiver under section 208(b)(1) or (b)(3), the advisory committee member may not participate in matters affecting the second university that is part of the State system because as a member of the Board of Regents, he has duties and responsibilities that affect the entire State educational system.

(d) Exemptions for financial interests arising from Federal Government employment or from Social Security or veterans' benefits. An employee may participate in any particular matter where the disqualifying financial interest arises from Federal Government or Federal Reserve Bank salary or benefits, or from Social Security or veterans' benefits, except an employee may not:

(1) Make determinations that individually or specially affect his own salary and benefits; or

(2) Make determinations, requests, or recommendations that individually or specially relate to, or affect, the salary or benefits of any other person specified in section 208.

Example 1:

An employee of the Office of Management and Budget may vigorously and energetically perform the duties of his position even though his outstanding performance would result in a performance bonus or other similar merit award.

Example 2:

A policy analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency may request promotion to another grade or salary level. However, the analyst may not recommend or approve the promotion of her general partner to the next grade.

Example 3:

An engineer employed by the National Science Foundation may request that his agency pay the registration fees and appropriate travel expenses required for him to attend a conference sponsored by the Engineering Institute of America. However, the employee may not approve payment of his own travel expenses and registration fees unless he has been delegated, in advance, authority to make such approvals in accordance with agency policy.

Example 4:

A GS-14 attorney at the Department of Justice may review and make comments about the legal sufficiency of a bill to raise the pay level of all Federal employees paid under the General Schedule even though her own pay level, and that of her spouse who works at the Department of Labor, would be raised if the bill were to become law.

Example 5:

An employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may assist in drafting a regulation that will provide expanded hospital benefits for veterans, even though he himself is a veteran who would be eligible for treatment in a hospital operated by the VA.

Example 6:

An employee of the Office of Personnel Management may participate in discussions with various health insurance providers to formulate the package of benefits that will be available to Federal employees who participate in the Government's Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, even though the employee will obtain health insurance from one of these providers through the program.

Example 7:

An employee of the Federal Supply Service Division of the General Services Administration (GSA) may participate in GSA's evaluation of the feasibility of privatizing the entire Federal Supply Service, even though the employee's own position would be eliminated if the Service were privatized.

Example 8:

Absent an individual waiver under section 208(b)(1), the employee in the preceding example could not participate in the implementation of a GSA plan to create an employee-owned private corporation which would carry out Federal Supply Service functions under contract with GSA. Because implementing the plan would result not only in the elimination of the employee's Federal position, but also in the creation of a new position in the new corporation to which the employee would be transferred, the employee would have a disqualifying financial interest in the matter arising from other than Federal salary and benefits, or Social Security or veterans benefits.

Example 9:

A career member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may serve on a performance review board that makes recommendations about the performance awards that will be awarded to other career SES employees at the IRS. The amount of the employee's own SES performance award would be affected by the board's recommendations because all SES awards are derived from the same limited pool of funds. However, the employee's activities on the board involve only recommendations, and not determinations that individually or specially affect his own award. Additionally, 5 U.S.C. 5384(c)(2) requires that a majority of the board's members be career SES employees.

Example 10:

In carrying out a reorganization of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) of the Federal Trade Commission, the Deputy General Counsel is asked to determine which of five Senior Executive Service (SES) positions in the OGC to abolish. Because her own position is one of the five SES positions being considered for elimination, the matter is one that would individually or specially affect her own salary and benefits and, therefore, the Deputy may not decide which position should be abolished.

Note to paragraph (d):

This exemption does not permit an employee to take any action in violation of any other statutory or regulatory requirement, such as the prohibition on the employment of relatives at 5 U.S.C. 3110.

(e) Commercial discount and incentive programs. An employee may participate in any particular matter affecting the sponsor of a discount, incentive, or other similar benefit program if the disqualifying financial interest arises because of participation in the program, provided:

(1) The program is open to the general public; and

(2) Participation in the program involves no other financial interest in the sponsor, such as stockholding.

Example 1:

An attorney at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation who is a member of a frequent flier program sponsored by Alpha Airlines may assist in an action against Alpha for failing to make required payments to its employee pension fund, even though the agency action will cause Alpha to disband its frequent flier program.

(f) Mutual insurance companies. An employee may participate in any particular matter affecting a mutual insurance company if the disqualifying financial interest arises because of an interest as a policyholder, unless the matter would affect the company's ability to pay claims required under the terms of the policy or to pay the cash value of the policy.

Example 1:

An administrative law judge at the Department of Labor receives dividends from a mutual insurance company which he takes in the form of reduced premiums on his life insurance policy. The amount of the dividend is based upon the company's overall profitability. Nevertheless, he may preside in a Department hearing involving a major corporation insured by the same company even though the insurance company will have to pay the corporation's penalties and other costs if the Department prevails in the hearing.

Example 2:

An employee of the Department of Justice is assigned to prosecute a case involving the fraudulent practices of an issuer of junk bonds. While developing the facts pertinent to the case, the employee learns that the mutual life insurance company from which he holds a life insurance policy has invested heavily in these junk bonds. If the Government succeeds in its case, the bonds will be worthless and the corresponding decline in the insurance company's investments will impair the company's ability to pay claims under the policies it has issued. The employee may not continue assisting in the prosecution of the case unless he obtains an individual waiver pursuant to section 208(b)(1).

(g) Exemption for employment interests of special Government employees serving on advisory committees. A special Government employee serving on an advisory committee within the meaning of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app.) may participate in any particular matter of general applicability where the disqualifying financial interest arises from his non-Federal employment or non-Federal prospective employment, provided that the matter will not have a special or distinct effect on the employee or employer other than as part of a class. For purposes of this paragraph, “disqualifying financial interest” arising from non-Federal employment does not include the interests of a special Government employee arising from the ownership of stock in his employer or prospective employer.

Example 1:

A chemist employed by a major pharmaceutical company has been appointed to serve on an advisory committee established to develop recommendations for new standards for AIDS vaccine trials involving human subjects. Even though the chemist's employer is in the process of developing an experimental AIDS vaccine and therefore will be affected by the new standards, the chemist may participate in formulating the advisory committee's recommendations. The chemist's employer will be affected by the new standards only as part of the class of all pharmaceutical companies and other research entities that are attempting to develop an AIDS vaccine.

Example 2:

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has established an advisory committee to evaluate a university's performance of an NCI grant to study the efficacy of a newly developed breast cancer drug. An employee of the university may not participate in the evaluation of the university's performance because it is not a matter of general applicability.

Example 3:

An engineer whose principal employment is with a major Department of Defense (DOD) contractor is appointed to serve on an advisory committee established by DOD to develop concepts for the next generation of laser-guided missiles. The engineer's employer, as well as a number of other similar companies, has developed certain missile components for DOD in the past, and has the capability to work on aspects of the newer missile designs under consideration by the committee. The engineer owns $20,000 worth of stock in his employer. Because the exemption for the employment interests of special Government employees serving on advisory committees does not extend to financial interests arising from the ownership of stock, the engineer may not participate in committee matters affecting his employer unless he receives an individual waiver under section 208(b)(1) or (b)(3), or determines whether the exemption for interests in securities at § 2640.202(b) applies.

(h) Directors of Federal Reserve Banks. A Director of a Federal Reserve Bank or a branch of a Federal Reserve Bank may participate in the following matters, even though they may be particular matters in which he, or any other person specified in section 208(a), has a disqualifying financial interest:

(1) Establishment of rates to be charged for all advances and discounts by Federal Reserve Banks;

(2) Consideration of monetary policy matters, regulations, statutes and proposed or pending legislation, and other matters of broad applicability intended to have uniform application to banks within the Reserve Bank district;

(3) Approval or ratification of extensions of credit, advances or discounts to a depository institution that has not been determined to be in a hazardous financial condition by the President of the Reserve Bank; or

(4) Approval or ratification of extensions of credit, advances or discounts to a depository institution that has been determined to be in a hazardous financial condition by the President of the Reserve Bank, provided that the disqualifying financial interest arises from the ownership of stock in, or service as an officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, of an entity other than the depository institution, or its parent holding company or subsidiary of such holding company.

(i) Medical products. A special Government employee serving on an advisory committee within the meaning of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app.) may participate in Federal advisory committee matters concerning medical products if the disqualifying financial interest arises from:

(1) Employment with a hospital or other similar medical facility whose only interest in the medical product or device is purchase of it for use by, or sale to, its patients; or

(2) The use or prescription of medical products for patients.

(j) Nonvoting members of standing technical advisory committees established by the Food and Drug Administration. A special Government employee serving as a nonvoting representative member of an advisory committee established by the Food and Drug Administration pursuant to the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app.) and appointed under a statutory authority requiring the appointment of representative members, may participate in any particular matter affecting a disqualifying financial interest in the class which the employee represents. Nonvoting representative members of Food and Drug Administration advisory committees are described in 21 CFR 14.80(b)(2), 14.84, 14.86, and 14.95(a).

Example 1:

The FDA's Medical Devices Advisory Committee is established pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 360c(b), which requires that each panel of the Committee include one nonvoting industry representative and one nonvoting consumer representative. An industry representative on the Ophthalmic Devices Panel of this Committee has been appointed as a special Government employee, in accordance with the procedures described at 14 CFR 14.84. The special Government employee may participate in Panel discussions concerning the premarket approval application for a silicone posterior chamber intraocular lens manufactured by MedInc, even though she is employed by, and owns stock in, another company that manufactures a competing product. However, a consumer representative who serves as a special Government employee on the same Panel may not participate in Panel discussions if he owns $30,000 worth of stock in MedInc unless he first obtains an individual waiver under 18 U.S.C. 208 (b)(1) or (b)(3).

(k) Employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority. An employee of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) may participate in developing or approving rate schedules or similar matters affecting the general cost of electric power sold by TVA, if the disqualifying financial interest arises from use of such power by the employee or by any other person specified in section 208(a).

(l) Exemption for financial interests of non-Federal government employers in the decennial census. An employee of the Bureau of the Census at the United States Department of Commerce, who is also an employee of a State, local, or tribal government, may participate in the decennial census notwithstanding the disqualifying financial interests of the employee's non-Federal government employer in the census provided that the employee:

(1) Does not serve in a State, local, or tribal government position which is filled through public election;

(2) Was hired for a temporary position under authority of 13 U.S.C. 23; and

(3) Is serving in a Local Census Office or an Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation function position as an enumerator, crew leader, or field operations supervisor.

(m) Official participation in nonprofit organizations. An employee may participate in any particular matter where the disqualifying financial interest is that of a nonprofit organization in which the employee serves (or is seeking or has an arrangement to serve), solely in an official capacity, as an officer, director or trustee.

Note to paragraph (m):

Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed independent authority for an agency to assign an employee to serve in an official capacity with a particular nonprofit organization. Agencies will make such determinations based on an evaluation of their own statutory authorities and missions. Individual agency decisions to permit (or not permit) an employee to serve in an official capacity necessarily involve a range of legal, policy, and managerial considerations, and nothing in this paragraph is intended to interfere with an agency's discretion to assign official duties and limit such assignments as the agency deems appropriate.

[61 FR 66841, Dec. 18, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 23128, Apr. 29, 1997; 65 FR 16513, Mar. 29, 2000; 78 FR 14442, Mar. 6, 2013]