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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Outside Employment, “Moonlighting,” by Federal Executive Branch Employees

Jack Maskell
Legislative Attorney

Most federal employees in the executive branch of government are not subject to a broad, overall prohibition on so-called “moonlighting.” Rank-and-file employees of the government are generally free to take an additional, compensated job outside of their federal work, subject to certain specific “conflict of interest” limitations.

High-ranking officials of the government, on the other hand, may be prohibited from taking any outside compensated private job if they are presidential appointees, and may otherwise be limited in the type of outside employment and the amount of private compensation they may receive if they are non-career officials receiving compensation from the federal government over a particular amount.

For most employees of the federal government, other than high-level appointees and non-career officials, outside employment opportunities and activities are prohibited when they create a “conflict of interest” for the employee with respect to his or her official duties and responsibilities for the government. The Office of Government Ethics expressly provides in regulation that such a “conflict of interest” will arise in two circumstances: (1) when the activity is expressly prohibited either by statute or by a specific agency regulation concerning such conduct; and (2) when general “conflict of interest” principles and rules would require that an employee recuse or disqualify himself or herself from participating in governmental matters to such an extent as to “materially impair” the employee’s ability to do his or her duty.

This report examines general statutory restrictions on certain types and categories of outside, compensated employment activities by federal employees, and surveys specific agency and departmental regulations prohibiting particular types and areas of outside, compensated employment activities for employees of that agency or department.

Date of Report: December 12, 2012
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: R42857
Price: $29.95

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