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

Annual Financial Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions
May 15, 2019

May 15 is the deadline for annual public financial disclosure filers to file their reports with their employing agencies. Copies of reports filed by presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation and designated agency ethics officials (DAEOs) are forwarded to OGE for a second-level review and public release after they are reviewed and certified by the employing agency’s ethics office. Public reports available from OGE can be accessed here.  A list of agency ethics contacts for requesting reports directly from the employing agencies can be found here.

 

To assist the public in accessing and understanding these reports, OGE has developed these Frequently Asked Questions. 

 

Q.  Who files annual public financial disclosure reports and where do they file their reports?

 

There are approximately 26,000 public financial disclosure filers who are comprised of:

 

  • the President and the Vice President;
  • officers and employees in positions that have a rate of basic pay equal to or greater than 120% of the minimum rate of basic pay for GS-15 of the General Schedule;
  • administrative law judges;
  • employees in positions which are excepted from the competitive service because of their confidential or policy-making character;
  • the Postmaster General, the Deputy Postmaster General, and each Governor of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service;
  • the Director of the Office of Government Ethics and each agency Designated Agency Ethics Official; and
  • civilian employees in the Executive Office of the President (other than special Government employees) who hold commissions of appointment from the President.

 

The financial disclosure reports are filed with the official’s employing agency.

 

Q.  When can I get annual public financial disclosure reports?

 

Unless an extension is granted, public filers must file their annual reports by May 15 and agencies must make the reports available within 30 days of receipt. See the “2019 Schedule of Important Ethics Dates” on OGE’s Dates and Deadlines page.

 

The deadline for filing annual reports can be extended by the appropriate ethics official for up to 90 days (to August 15).   

 

Agencies must review reports within 60 days of receiving them and, if no additional information or remedy is required, agencies must also certify the reports before the 60-day period expires.

 

Public financial disclosure reports that are also reviewed by OGE must be forwarded by agencies to OGE promptly once the agencies certify the reports. Those reports are available from OGE 30 days after receipt or after OGE closes the reports (i.e., certifying or declining to certify).

 

Q.  Which reports are available on OGE’s website?

 

OGE receives about 1,100 of the approximately 26,000 public financial disclosure reports filed by officials in the executive branch. OGE only reviews the reports for presidential appointees in positions requiring Senate confirmation, certain White House appointees, and the most senior ethics official at each agency. (OGE has a spreadsheet listing positions  which file with OGE available on the Public Financial Disclosure FAQ page). The remaining approximately 25,000 public financial disclosure reports are available from the official’s agency.

 

Q.  How can I access the reports that are available on OGE’s website and the reports that are available from agencies?

 

For filers at Executive Pay Levels I and II (the highest-level 67 presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed positions, including Cabinet secretaries), their annual reports are available on OGE’s website without completing the OGE Form 201 once OGE has closed the report. You can access these reports by clicking on “President and Vice President” or “Cabinet secretaries and other government agency heads” on OGE’s Open Government page here.

 

The other more than 1,000 reports filed with OGE (e.g., presidential appointees confirmed by the Senate, senior White House personnel, and designated agency ethics officials, etc.) are available after OGE has closed them by completing and submitting an OGE Form 201. You can access these reports by clicking on “Senior White House personnel and other top senior government officials” on OGE’s Open Government page and then submitting the OGE Form 201.

 

For the remaining more than 25,000 public financial disclosure reports filed by executive branch officials, an OGE Form 201 must be completed and submitted to the official’s employing agency. You can see where to submit the OGE Form 201 to agencies in the updated list of Agency Ethics Program Contact Information available on OGE’s Open Government page.

 

Q. Why are some reports readily available on OGE’s website while I have to file a request form for other reports?

 

The Ethics in Government Act, as amended, specifies which public financial disclosure reports are publicly posted and which must be released subject to a request process.

 

Reports submitted by the President and Vice President and reports submitted by filers at Executive Pay Levels I and II are publicly posted on OGE’s website.

 

Requesters must complete and submit an OGE Form 201 to OGE or to an official’s employing agency, respectively, for the other reports filed with OGE or the remaining public financial disclosure reports filed by executive branch officials.

 

Q. When will the annual public financial disclosure reports of the President and the Vice President be available?

 

OGE will tweet as soon as the annual reports of the President and the Vice President are posted on its website. Last year, those reports were posted on May 16.

 

Q. Why aren’t all presidential candidate reports currently available through OGE’s website?

 

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is responsible for determining whether a person qualifies as a candidate as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1970.  Once the FEC deems an individual is a candidate for President, the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA) requires the individual to file a public financial disclosure report. An individual who becomes a candidate on or before April 15 must file an annual public financial disclosure report with the FEC on or before May 15. An individual who becomes a candidate after April 15 must file their report with the FEC within 30 days of becoming a candidate.

 

After the initial filing with the FEC, OGE reviews the candidate’s report and certifies it if the report satisfies the requirements of the EIGA. Requesters must complete and submit an OGE Form 201 to OGE to request candidate reports. OGE is required to release a candidate’s report upon request 30 days after receipt by OGE from the FEC. A list of candidates whose reports have been certified by OGE is available on the OGE website under "Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates” on OGE’s Open Government page.