Ethics in Government Act

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The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 is a federal law passed in 1978 in the wake of the Watergate Scandal that sets financial disclosure requirements for public officials and restrictions on former government employees' lobbying activities.

Financial disclosures

Members of the upper levels of all three branches of government (including the President, Vice President, members of Congress, federal judges, and certain staff members in each branch) must file annual public financial disclosure reports that list:

  • The sources and amount of all earned income; all income from stocks, bonds, and property; any investments or large debts; the same information for spouse and dependent children.
  • Any position or offices held in any business, labor, or nonprofit organization (whether compensated or uncompensated).[1]

Employment restrictions

Former employees of executive branch agencies may not:

  • Represent anyone before an agency for two years after leaving government service on matters that came within the former employees' sphere or responsibility, even if the employees were not personally involved with the matter.
  • Represent anyone on any matter before their former agency for one year after leaving it, even if the former employees had no connection with the matter while in the government.

Articles and resources

Wikipedia also has an article on Ethics in Government Act. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


  1. Michael M. Atkinson and Maureen Mancuso, "Conflict of Interest in Britain and the United States: An Institutional Argument," Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol 16, Issue 4, November 1991, pp 477-478.

External resources