This September, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is embarking on an exciting new venture to deliver the highest quality training in an entirely different way, one that will charge the ethics program with a new level of energy: the National Government Ethics Summit. The Summit is a series of events in the Washington, D.C. area that will bring together leaders from the executive branch ethics community, representatives from the legislative and judicial branches, members of the press, advocates from good government groups, noted thinkers from academia, and officials from state and local governments.
The month-long series of events will span seven nonconsecutive days of live sessions throughout September. We will stream a number of the live sessions, as well as provide several virtual-only events. All virtual content will be available for viewing by the general public.
In any organization, it is the people who make or break an ethics program. Most people want to do the right thing, but knowing and understanding the rules often makes the difference between compliance and an ethics violation. That is why training is vitally important.
As the supervising ethics office for the executive branch, OGE is responsible for training agency ethics officials throughout the executive branch. These agency ethics officials, in turn, train the more than two million federal employees on the complex rules for ethics in government. This training process must work so that citizens can have confidence in the integrity of their government’s operations.
Summit sessions will cover topical and advanced issues in ethics law and policy, including the finer points of the criminal conflict of interest statutes, complexities in applying the Standards of Conduct, and advanced financial disclosure. Other sessions will cover ethics-related authorities such as the Hatch Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and travel regulations.
In these lean budget times, we have remained ever mindful of cost. By holding these events exclusively at federal facilities in and around Washington, D.C., we have eliminated costs associated with renting a venue and traveling to a remote venue. Where registration fees for conferences typically range from $500 to upwards of $1,000, the registration fee for the Summit is exactly $23. Also, by leveraging technology for live streaming video, we hope to get even more value for the taxpayers’ money by opening many of the presentations free-of-charge to ethics officials outside the Washington, D.C. area and interested members of the public. This conservation of resources is one way that we hope to lead by example.
We’ll be providing more information in the near future. Be on the lookout for Summit announcements here, on OGE’s Institute for Ethics in Government page on Max.gov, on Twitter @OfficeGovEthics, and via our listserv.
This event is made possible through the generous support of our partners, who have graciously provided meeting space: the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and the Transportation Security Administration.