The Office of Government Ethics has announced new rules preventing federal employees from writing regulations that affect businesses in which they hold investments, Federal Times reported this week.
If a federal employee holds more than $5,000 in a company's stocks, he or she is now prohibited from working on any regulation, contract or grant that would directly affect the company. Some special waivers to the new rules are available, an OGE lawyer told Federal Times.
If the work would affect an entire industry or field, and thus affect a single company only indirectly, employees may hold up to $25,000 in that company and $50,000 total in the affected field.
Additional restrictions apply in specific agencies.
Federal employees whose only investments are through the Thrift Savings Plan are not affected by the new rules, because their money is invested for them. Similarly, any employee who is enrolled in a pension plan with a previous employer in the private sector and who has no control over the companies in which his or her funds are invested is exempt from the rules.
The rules do affect stock held by members of an employee's immediate family.