Homeland Security cracks down on workers’ outside employment

The Homeland Security Department earlier this week proposed new rules limiting the outside employment and activities of some of its employees.

The proposal, published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, aims to prevent potential conflicts of interest and to supplement Office of Government Ethics rules introduced in 1992.

DHS employees would have to obtain special permission before taking on work outside the government, including teaching, speaking and consulting positions.

"Because DHS provides millions of dollars in grants and engages in enforcement, regulatory and security functions across a multitude of industry sectors, requiring prior approval is necessary to ensure that a reasonable person will not question the integrity of DHS programs and operations," the notice stated.

Workers at subagencies such as Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement must avoid specific outside activities, including private employment relating to immigration, customs and agriculture, such as exporting and importing services or legal services.

CBP and ICE employees would be required to inform their supervisor if a spouse or dependent participated in these activities.

The draft rules target Federal Emergency Management Agency employees as well, banning them from working for FEMA contactors.

DHS also has introduced several rules against employees purchasing certain kinds of government property, such as property owned by DHS, unless the General Services Administration is responsible for selling it.

The proposal is open for comment until Dec. 12. Responses can be submitted online through Regulations.gov or emailed to ferne.mosley@dhs.gov with "Proposed DHS Supplemental Standards" in the subject line. They can also be faxed to (202) 282-9099, or mailed to:

Ferne L. Mosley, Deputy Ethics Official
OGC MAIL STOP 0485, Homeland Security Department
245 Murray Lane
Washington, D.C. 20528-0485
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