Federal Ethics Laws


Federal Ethics Laws

California has such an extensive set of laws to promote public trust and confidence in public officials that it’s easy to just focus on those. However, there is a body of federal ethics laws as well.

Such laws are enforced by the federal government; typically the local US Attorney’s Office, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Making a Federal Case Out of Corruption

To preserve the public’s trust, laws were designed at both the state and federal levels to prevent breaches of trust by local officials. Therefore, improper conduct can violate both sets of laws.


Supreme Court Limits Honest Services Fraud Law

In a June 24, 2010 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court has limited the scope of the federal crime of “honest services” fraud. The case involving a private sector actor (former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling).


Explanation of Federal Hatch Act’s Application to Local Employees Available

The Hatch Act restricts some federal employees’ partisan political activity as well as those of some state and local employees who work in connection with federally-funded programs.

The Office of Special Counsel has a useful website explaining these restrictions, including how they apply to local employees.