Every citizen must have complete confidence in the integrity of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; otherwise, our ability to act in the public interest will be compromised. Therefore, each FERC employee must demonstrate ethical conduct by complying with all relevant Federal statutes and rules, including those set forth in the Commission's and the Office of Government Ethics' regulations. Each employee is responsible for knowing the ethics rules and for behaving ethically. Ignorance is no defense.
Major Ethics Requirements
A FERC employee:
Information and Communications
- May not disclose nonpublic information, including draft orders and internal discussions, to the public.
- Must follow the guidelines on Accessing and Handling Nonpublic Information.
- May not disclose the nature or the time of any proposed action by the Commission to anyone outside the Commission.
- Must adhere to the rules on prohibited off-the-record communications, including but not limited to, (1) not discussing the merits of a contested proceeding with anyone outside the Commission and (2) following the procedures for placing prohibited and exempt communications in the record.
- Must adhere to the rules on communications between decisional and non-decisional staff members.
- May not accept (1) a gift from any person, company, or organization that is regulated by, does business before or with, or whose interests are otherwise affected by FERC, or (2) a gift given because of the employee's position at the agency.
- Such gifts include, but are not limited to, meals, transportation, lodging, and tickets, as well as free or reduced tuition or attendance at industry-sponsored events (seminars, conferences, receptions, etc.).
- This rule applies to any donor, not just regulated companies. It also applies to environmental site reviews.
- There are some exceptions. An employee may accept an unsolicited gift of $20 or less per source per occasion, subject to a $50 annual limit. An employee may generally not accept any other gift absent a determination from the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) that another exception applies. Note: an employee may not make that determination on his or her own. Also, absent a generic decision by the DAEO, permission that one employee may attend an event does not apply to anyone else unless so determined by the DAEO.
- May not accept reimbursement from an outside source for official travel without the DAEO's determination that such reimbursement is permitted under the law. That determination must be made before the scheduled travel; it may not be made retroactively.
- May not work on any case in which he or she has a financial interest.
- May not own stock in a company that has FERC-regulated interests.
- Must file timely required financial disclosure statements.
- Must attend required ethics training.