United States Office of Government Ethics, Preventing Conflicts of Interest in the Executive Branch

58 FR 32359-32360 -Proposed revision of SF 278, Executive Branch Public Financial Disclosure ReportAction: Notice of proposed revision of a public information collection form submitted to OMB for clearance
June 9, 1993

[Published at 58 FR 32359-32360 (June 9, 1993)]


Public Information Collection Form Revision Submitted for OMB

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Notice of proposed revision of a public information
collection form submitted to OMB for clearance.

SUMMARY: The Office of Government Ethics has submitted to the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval, in accordance
with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), a
proposed revised version of the SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure
Report, that collects information from the public. Since the form
is also a Standard Form, OGE is submitting the proposed reprint
revisions to the General Services Administration (GSA) for its
clearance as well.

DATES: Comments on this proposal should be received by July 9,

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Joseph F. Lackey, Office of
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and
Budget, New Executive Office Building, Room 3002, Washington, DC
20503, telephone (202/FTS) 395-7316.

Ethics, Suite 500, 1201 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20005-
3917, telephone (202) 523-5757, FAX (202) 523-6325. A copy of
OGE's request for approval from OMB, including the proposed revised
form, may be obtained by contacting Ms. Kim.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Government Ethics
sponsors the SF 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial
Disclosure Report which collects pertinent financial information
from certain officials and high-level employees in the executive
branch for conflicts of interest review and public disclosure, as
required by statute, in order to promote the public trust in the
integrity of Government employees.

The SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Report collects
information which is required to be reported by candidates,
nominees, new entrants, incumbents and terminees of certain high-
level positions within the executive branch of the Federal
Government. Approximately 20,000 SF 278 forms are filed on an
annual basis. While the majority of those who file the form are
Government employees at the time they complete the form, candidates
for President and Vice President, nominees, and some new entrants
and terminees complete the form either before or after their
Government service. Thus Paperwork Reduction Act approval by OMB
is required for the SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Report. The
number of non-Government filers whose reports are transmitted to
the Director, OGE, is estimated to average 280 per year.

The average response time for completion of the SF 278 is
estimated to be three hours. This now presents a total annual
public reporting burden at OGE of 840 hours (280 forms times 3

The information filed on the current version of the SF 278 is
required by title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 as
amended by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989. This request for
revision of the SF 278 is necessary in order to incorporate recent
amendments to the Ethics in Government Act. In 1991, Congress
amended provisions affecting the value of gifts required to be
included on public financial disclosure reports for reporting
periods after 1991. Section 314(a) of Public Law 102-90, effective
January 1, 1993, established a single $250 threshold for both
travel and non-travel gifts (when the "minimal value" under the
foreign gifts act exceeds that threshold, which is not expected for
at least the next three years, the higher "minimal value" figure
will govern). The amendment also raised the current $75 exclusion
for determining which gifts and reimbursements must be reported or
aggregated to $100 on January 1, 1992 for reporting periods after
1991 (also to be proportionately adjusted in the future once the
foreign gifts "minimal value" exceeds $250). Also, under the
Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990, Public Law 101-
509, General Schedule positions at GS-16, 17 and 18 were replaced
by a new range of rates for positions classified "above GS-15."
The rate of basic pay for these positions is not less than 120% of
the minimum rate of basic pay payable for GS-15. This provision of
the Comparability Act took effect in 1991. Congress amended the
statutory language in the Ethics in Government Act to reflect this
change in Public Law 102-378 (1992). The form and instructions are
being modified to incorporate these statutory changes and to
provide further clarification on some reporting items as needed
based on administrative experience since the last revisions to the
SF 278.

The proposed revisions to the SF 278 also include the addition
of a Schedule A (Assets and Income) continuation sheet. This sheet
will provide extra space for Asset and Income entries and reduce
the amount of photocopying of Schedule A needed by various filers
and their agencies.

The substantive changes are reflected in OGE regulations
regarding executive branch public financial disclosure reporting at
5 CFR part 2634. Because OGE is trying to have the form available
for use by those affected individuals on January 1, 1994, it is
being submitted for clearance at this time in order to allow for
its printing and stocking by GSA and ordering by executive branch
departments and agencies once the clearance process is complete.

Approved: June 2, 1993.

Stephen D. Potts,
Director, Office of Government Ethics.