Being an employee of the public service is considered a public trust.
Federal employees must always place loyalty to high ethical standards above private gain. Understanding and observing ethics rules are essential to fulfilling that trust.
There are Fourteen Principles of Ethical Conduct for Federal Employees they must always follow.
(Executive Order 12674)
- Public service is a public trust; employees must place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.
- Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.
- Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic Government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.
- Employee shall not, except as permitted by the Standards of Ethical Conduct, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee’s agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s duties.
- Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.
- Employees shall not knowingly make unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Government.
- Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
- Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.
- Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.
- Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities – including seeking or negotiating for employment – that conflict with official Government duties and responsibilities.
- Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.
- Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all financial obligations, especially those imposed by law, such as Federal, state, or local taxes.
- Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
- Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Whether particular circumstances create an appearance that the law or these standards have been violated shall be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.
These principles form the basis for the standards of ethical conduct regulation.
A violation of these rules is no joke. The result is disciplinary action or, for certain offenses, prosecution under related criminal statutes on conflicts of interest.
Candace Marie Claiborne has become the first Clinton-era State Department employee indicted on treason charges, after a federal grand jury indicted her for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government, concealing contact with foreign spies, obstructing an official proceeding, and making false statements to the FBI.
Claiborne, a veteran State Department employee who possessed a Top Secret security clearance, concealed her extensive contacts with Chinese intelligence agents, who for years lavished her with thousands of dollars in gifts as part of a pay-for-play scheme, according to a Department of Justice press release.
In addition to cash payments, Chinese spies provided Claiborne with vacations, an apartment, Apple electronics, and tuition to a Chinese fashion school, according to the indictment. Suggesting she learned tricks from Hillary Clinton, her former boss, Claiborne allegedly told co-conspirators to delete all emails and evidence after getting caught.
The bill of charges contains numerous felonies and Claiborne, 60, is facing spending the rest of her life behind bars, as prosecutors warn she is “the first of many” corrupt Clinton-era State Department employees that will be bought to justice by a reinvigorated DOJ.
“Candace Marie Claiborne is a U.S. State Department employee who possesses a Top Secret security clearance and allegedly failed to report her contacts with Chinese foreign intelligence agents who provided her with thousands of dollars of gifts and benefits,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord.
“Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division.”
He added: “This case demonstrates that U.S. government employees will be held accountable for failing to honor the trust placed in them when they take on such sensitive assignments.”
“Candace Claiborne is accused of violating her oath of office as a State Department employee, who was entrusted with Top Secret information when she purposefully mislead federal investigators about her significant and repeated interactions with foreign contacts,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale.
“The FBI will continue to investigate individuals who, though required by law, fail to report foreign contacts, which is a key indicator of potential insider threats posed by those in positions of public trust.”
The grand jury found Claiborne’s Washington, D.C. home and her savings account are subject to forfeiture, if she’s convicted.
She wrote in a journal that she could “generate 20k in 1 year” through one of her Chinese agents, according to an affidavit. She was allegedly wired nearly $2,500 shortly after and was asked to provide the U.S. government’s analyses of its 2011 economic talks with China.
According to the Department of Justice’s press release, Claiborne is facing decades behind bars for her crimes:
“The maximum penalty for a person convicted of obstructing an official proceeding is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for making false statements to the FBI is five years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”