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Ethics Rules

Ethics Program Description

The NASA Ethics Program includes implementation of ethics laws and regulations, development of policy, training, financial disclosure, and advice and counseling on all ethics issues at NASA.  The components of the ethics program are largely set by Government-wide statutes and regulations. NASA has limited authority to establish its own ethics program requirements. The major sources of the ethics rules are: 


Ethics in Government Act of 1978 

  • establishes the Government’s regulatory agency for ethics, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE)
  • mandates financial disclosure for senior Federal employees

Ethics Reform Act of 1989 

  • requires financial disclosure by General Schedule employees
  • requires annual training
  • source of ban on receipt of honoraria, which was subsequently found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court

Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest – 18 U.S.C. §§ 201-209 

  • criminal statutes governing civil service conduct
  • prohibit financial and other conflicts of interest, and supplementation of salary
  • place restrictions on employment of civil servants after Government service

Procurement Integrity – 41 U.S.C. § 423 

  • protects procurement sensitive information from disclosure
  • restricts job negotiations during the conduct of a procurement
  • places additional restrictions on post-Government employment

Executive Orders

E.O. 12674 (1989), as amended by E.O. 12731 (1990) 

  • establishes Principles of Ethical Conduct
  • sets forth OGE and Agency responsibilities


5 CFR Part 2635

  • the Standards of Ethical Conduct–the basic ethics reference
  • primarily covers non-criminal, prohibited conduct, such as gifts from contractors, endorsements, and outside activities
  • also provides partial coverage of financial conflicts

5 CFR Part 6901 

  • NASA Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct, covers outside activities 

Criminal Statutes

18 U.S.C. § 201

Bribery of public officials and witnesses

18 U.S.C. § 202


18 U.S.C. § 203

Compensation to Members of Congress, officers, and others in matters affecting the Government

18 U.S.C. § 205

Activities of officers and employees in claims against and other matters affecting the Government

18 U.S.C. § 206

Exemption of retired officers of the uniformed services

18 U.S.C. § 207

Restrictions on former officers, employees, and elected officials of the executive and legislative branches

18 U.S.C. § 208

Acts affecting a personal financial interest

18 U.S.C. § 209

Salary of Government officials and employees payable only by United States

18 U.S.C. § 216

Penalties and injunctions


5 CFR Part 2634

Executive Branch Financial Disclosure, Qualified Trusts, and Certificates of Divestiture

5 CFR Part 2635

Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch

5 CFR Part 2636

Limitations on Outside Earned Income, Employment, and Affiliations for Certain Noncareer Employees

5 CFR Part 2637

Regulations Concerning Post Employment Conflict of Interest

5 CFR Part 2638

Office of Government Ethics and Executive Agency Ethics Program Responsibilities

5 CFR Part 2640

Interpretation, Exemptions and Waiver Guidance Concerning 18 U.S.C. 208 (Acts Affecting a Personal Financial Interest)

5 CFR Part 2641

Post-Employment Conflict of Interest Restrictions 

5 CFR Part 6901

Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration