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who are best qualified by expertise or tor/project director file seems likely to experience to make the required judg become an NSF employee, the direcments or effect the required actions. torate or office which has recruited For these reasons, the conflicts laws that person must inform the Division and regulations do not specifically ad of Information Systems by memo (so dress many potential or actual con- that the principal investigator/project flicts that are not serious enough to director file can be “flagged” accordrequire flat prohibitions or disqualifi ingly). It must also send copies of the cations or not easily enough identified memo to each NSF division or office by general rule to permit them.

that is responsible for an active award (1) In the handling of the proposals or pending proposal involving that and other award-related applications, person. These and related requirethese regulations require that some ments are further described in Part such potential conflicts receive special 681, Subpart C, ($ $ 681.30-681.33). attention from a designated director (d) Directorate for Administration. ate "conflicts official.” The conflicts The Assistant Director for Administraofficial considers the circumstances of tion is responsible for "flagging” the each case and decides whether to re- principal investigator/project director quire either a disqualification or some file to indicate those who are incomform of special handling. See Part 681. ing, current, or recent employees

(2) Other actual or potential con- (8 681.33(d)). flicts may not be covered by any specific rule. You should nonetheless be 8 680.14 Summary of special rules for fullsensitive to them and do whatever time Presidential appointees. seems wise either to avoid them alto

If you are a Presidential appointee, gether or to ensure that they affect

you are subject to special additional neither the quality of NSF decisions

rules: nor public trust in those decisions.

(a) You must file a public Financial 8 680.13 Summary of additional responsi

Disclosure Report within 5 days of bilities.

your nomination to your position by

the President. (8 683.11) Apart from the conflicts rules for all

(b) You may not hold office in or act employees summarized in the preced

for any institution that has or is seeking section, these regulations impose

ing NSF awards without the approval the following additional responsibil

of the National Science Board. ities:

(8 683.30) (a) Directorates and staff offices. Each directorate and staff office is re

(c) You must not engage in any sponsible for designating “conflicts of.

other business, vocation, or employ. ficials” and for making sure that all

ment while serving the NSF in a fullstaff who handle proposals and other

time Presidential position. (8 683.30) applications know who the conflicts

(d) You may not earn from other officials are (§ 681.10(d)).

outside activities income totalling (b) Directorate (and staff-office)

more than 15 percent of your Govern"conflicts officials. If your director

ment salary in any calendar year. ate or staff office has designated you

(8 683.30) as a conflicts official, your responsibil.

(e) You are not subject to the reities are described in Part 681, Subpart

strictions on political activity, except D, ($$ 681.40-681.44).

to those concerning use of official au(c) Officials who are recruiting new

thority or influence for political purprofessional employees. If NSF offi. poses. (§ 683.40) cials who are recruiting determine that a person has become a “prospec

8 680.15 General standards of employee tive employee", they are responsible

conduct. for bringing that fact and subsequent (a) Summary. This section covers developments to the attention of a di. some standards of conduct for Governrectorate (or staff-office) conflicts offi- ment employees that are not covered cial. Whenever a person currently elsewhere in the NSF regulations. listed in the NSF principal investiga. Most of them are basic standards of 135

integrity, decency, and obedience to law. Violation of any of these stand ards is grounds for serious disciplinary action.

(b) Underlying intent. The intent of these regulations generally is that you should not:

(1) Engage in criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct or in any other conduct prejudicial to the Government or to Government efficiency or economy;

(2) Use your public office for private gain;

(3) Give preferential treatment;

(4) Have direct or indirect financial interests that conflict substantially, or appear to conflict substantially, with your Government duties and responsibilities;

(5) Engage directly or indirectly in financial transactions based on information obtained through your Government employment that is not avail. able to the general public;

(6) Lose your independence or impartiality; or

(7) Make Government decisions out. side of the proper official channels.

(c) Preserving public trust. You are responsible for helping to earn and maintain the confidence of the public in the integrity of the Government. This requires you to be concerned with appearances of as well as actual conflicts.

(d) Payment of taxes and debts. You are expected to pay your taxes and your just debts properly and on time. ("Just debts" means those you ac knowledge or that have been reduced to final judgment. The Government will not try to determine the validity or amount of any disputed debt.)

(e) Gambling. You must not gamble in a Government office or while on duty. This includes participating in a sports pool or a lottery not officially sanctioned by the NSF.

(f) Familiarity with statutory provi. sions. You are legally responsible for acquainting yourself with each statute that relates to your conduct as an NSF and Federal employee. Principal among these are the criminal statutes relating to bribery, graft, and conflicts of interests contained in 18 U.S.C. 201209; these regulations cover those provisions as they apply to NSF employ

ees. These regulations also cover the provisions of Executive Order 11222, which prescribes standards of ethical conduct for Government officers and employees. They cover regulations of the Office of Personnel and Management that implement both the criminal statutes and the Executive Order. If you follow these regulations, you should have no trouble with any of those provisions. Not covered in these regulations, however, are the following statutory provisions:

(1) The prohibition against lobbying with appropriated funds (18 U.S.C. 1913).

(2) The prohibitions against disloyalty and striking (5 U.S.C. 7311, 18 U.S.C. 1918).

(3) The prohibitions against disclosure of classified information (18 U.S.C. 798, 50 U.S.C. 783) and disclosure of confidential information (18 U.S.C. 1905).

(4) The provision relating to habitual use of intoxicants to excess (5 U.S.C. 7352).

(5) The prohibition against misuse of a Government vehicle (31 U.S.C. 638a(c)).

(6) The prohibition against misuse of the franking privilege (18 U.S.C. 1719).

(7) The prohibition against use of deceit in an examination or personnel action in connection with Government employment (18 U.S.C. 1917).

(8) The prohibition against fraud or false statements in a Government matter (18 U.S.C. 1001).

(9) The prohibition against mutilating or destroying a public record (18 U.S.C. 2071).

(10) The prohibition against counterfeiting or forging transporation requests (18 U.S.C. 508).

(11) The prohibitions against embezzling Government money or property (18 U.S.C. 641); failing to account for public money (18 U.S.C. 643); and embezzling the money or property of an employee by reason of his employment (18 U.S.C. 654).

(12) The prohibition against unauthorized use of documents relating to claims from or by the Government (18 U.S.C. 285).

(13) The prohibition against acting as the agent of a foreign principal reg

istered under the Foreign Agents Reg. covered elsewhere in these regulations istration Act (18 U.S.C. 219).

or will be explained if occasion arises

by an ethics counselor. 8 680.16 Key terms.

Except where provisions plainly indi. 8 680.21 Exemptions under 18 U.S.C. cate otherwise, certain other terms are 208(b). used throughout these regulations in (a) The Foundation exempts the instandard meanings:

terests described in the remainder of (a) “Award” means any grant, con

this section from the operation of sectract, cooperative agreement, loan, or

tion 208(a) and from case-by-case other arrangement made by the Gov.

formal determinations under section ernment.

208(b)(1) of Title 18, United States (b) “Project” means the unit of work

Code. that an award supports or helps sup

(b) Minor interests. The following fiport.

nancial interests are too inconsequen(c) “Proposal” means an application

tial to affect the integrity of an emfor an award and includes a bid.

ployee's services to the Government: (d) “Other award-related applica

(1) Noncorporate bonds; tion" means a request for an award

(2) Shares in a well-diversified amendment, for an increment to a continuing grant, for a no-cost exten

money market or mutual fund; sion, or for an administrative approv

(3) Stocks, bonds, or other securities al.

of a corporation listed on the New (e) “Institution" means any universi

York or American Stock Exchange if ty, college, business firm, research in

the aggregate market value of all the stitute, professional society, or other

securities you hold in that corporation organization. It includes any universi

does not exceed $1,000; ty consortium or joint corporation

(4) Vested pension rights to which such as AUI, AURA, or JOI, Inc., but

no further contributions are being not the universities that belong to it.

made by your former employer. It includes all parts of a university or

(c) Indirect interests. An NSF emcollege, including separate campuses. ployee may be a stockholder, partner, It does not include other universities employee, officer, or director of an inor colleges in a multi-institution state stitution, such as a mutual fund, that or city system, unless you are an em owns a financial interest in a second ployee of the central system offices or institution. If the owning institution's an officer, trustee, or equivalent of the financial interest consists of securities system as a whole.

or other evidences of debt of the (f) “Directorate" means an NSF di second institution that amount to: rectorate, staff office, or other organi (1) Less than 5 percent of the total zation that reports immediately to the portfolio of investments of the owning NSF Director.

institution, (g) “Program Officer” includes as (2) Less than 5 percent of the total sistant and associate program officers outstanding amounts of the same or program managers.

classes of securities of the second insti

tution, and Subpart B-Statutory Exemptions (3) Less than would be needed to

obtain effective control of the second $ 680.20 Necessity and effect of formal ex institution, emptions.

then the interest is too remote and inThe exemptions described in this consequential to affect the integrity of subpart are provided for by statute, the employee's services to the Governwhich requires that they be formally ment. promulgated. This subpart provides (d) Policy determinations. Where a the formal promulgation and gives general policy determination of the notice to the public. If you are an NSF Government might constitute a “paremployee, you need not be concerned ticular matter" under 18 U.S.C. 208(a) with them. Anything you need to and might affect the home institution know that follows from them is either of an NSF officer or employee, but

Subpart D-Guidance for Directorate Conflicts


only in the same manner as all similar institutions, the officer or employee may participate in that determination.

(e) Support services for National Science Board tasks and responsibilities. A member of the National Science Board may need professional, clerical, and administrative services to support the member's personal efforts to carry out Board tasks and responsibilities. With the approval of the Director and the Chairman of the National Science Board and in accordance with other laws and regulations, the NSF may contract with the home insitution of the member to provide such services. The institution may receive reimbursement of all allowable costs, but no profit or fee. In such circumstances any financial interests the institution might have are normally too inconsequential to affect the integrity of the services provided by the Board member to the Government.

Sec. 681.40 Summary; responsibilities of con

flicts officials. 681.41 Making determinations: underlying

considerations. 681.42 Disclosure, disqualification, and

other special handling. 681.43 Potential conflicts when an NSF

employee has an involvement or inter

est. 681.44 Handling prospective-employee de

terminations. AUTHORITY: E.O. 11222 of May 8, 1965, 3 CFR, 1965 Supplement and Regulations of the Office of Personnel Management, 5 CFR 735.104.

SOURCE: 47 FR 32135, July 26, 1982, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A-Summary


Subpart A-Summary

Sec. 681.10 Summary.

Subpart B-Guidance for Program Officers and

Other Decisionmaking Officials 681.20 Introduction. 681.21 When you have a potentially bias

ing affiliation or relationship. 681.22 “Automatically disqualifying": "nor

mally disqualifying". 681.23 When a prospective, current, or

recent NSF employee has an involve

ment or interest. 681.24 Directorate conflicts officials. 681.25 Possible conflicts of peer reviewers.

8 681.10 Summary.

(a) Two types of problems could affect the judgments of program officers and other NSF officials who handle proposals and other applications:

(1) The official might possess outside interests, affiliations, or relationships that could create bias; or

(2) Another NSF employee could have an involvement or interest in the proposal or application. Whenever either of these problems arises, the official who would normally handle the proposal or other application is asked to bring the problem to the attention of a “directorate conflicts official”. This conflicts official examines the case; decides what disqualifications or special handling arrangements, if any, are called for; and places a memo in the file explaining the circumstances and any arrangements made to deal with them. In some cases disqualifications are routine or automatic.

(b) Peer reviewers can also have interests, affiliations, or relationships that might affect their reviews. Reviewers are asked to reveal any such interests, affiliations, or relationships. Those are then taken into account by NSF officials in making decisions or recommendations based on the reviews.

Subpart C-Indentifying Prospective, Current, or Recent NSF Employees and Proposals or

Awards in Which They Have an Interest 681.30 General. 681.31 “Recent employee"; "prospective

employee". 681.32 What the recruiting directorate or

office should do when a person becomes

a "prospective employee". 681.33 Informing others about incoming

employees; "flagging".

(c) If you are a program officer or could inadvertently violate a criminal other NSF official who handles pro- statute. posals and other award-related appli- (e) You "handle" a proposal or other cations, your responsibilities in these applicaton if you recommend a deci. matters are explained in Subpart B sion on it, make or approve the deci($ $ 681.20-681.26).

sion, or otherwise substantially influ(d) Each directorate or staff office of ence the decision. If you are a grants the Foundation is responsible for des officer, contracts officer, financial ofignating "conflicts officials" and for ficial, or lawyer you are affected if you making sure that all staff who handle play a significant role in decisions on proposals and other applications know award budgets or terms. If in doubt, who the conflicts officials are. The consult an ethics counselor in the conflicts officials need not be in the di. Office of the General Counsel. rectorate front office. They could, for (f) This Part covers only conflicts example, be division directors.

and potential conflicts in handling (e) If you have been designated as a proposals and other award-related apdirectorate (or staff office) conflicts plications. Conflicts or potential conofficial, your responsibilities in these flicts in handling other matters are matters are explained in Subpart D covered in $ 683.20. ($ $ 681.40-681.44) of this part, which also provides guidance to help you $ 681.21 When you have a potentially biascarry out those responsibilities.

ing affiliation or relationship.

(a) If you would normally handle a Subpart B-Guidance for Program proposal or other application, but posOfficers and Other Decision

sess with respect to it a potentially

biasing affiliation or relationship making Officials

listed below, you must bring the 8 681.20 Introduction.

matter to the attention of a conflicts

official in your directorate or staff (a) If you are a progam officer or

office. You must do so whether or not other NSF official who would normal

the affiliation or relationship is also ly handle a proposal or other applica

designated “normally disqualifying" or tion, but you possess with respect to it

“automatically disqualifying". (Some a potentially biasing affiliation, listed

affiliations or relationships are neiin § 681.21, that section explains what

ther.) The conflicts official will deteryou should do.

mine how the matter should be han(b) If you become aware that an

dled and will tell you what further other NSF employee-including a

steps to take. prospective employee or a recent em

(b) Affiliations with an applicant inployee (one who has left the NSF

stitution. (1) Current appointment at within the past year)-has an involve

the institution as professor, adjunct ment or interest in a proposal or other

professor, visiting professor, or the application you are handling, $ 681.23

like (automatically disqualifying). explains what you should do.

(2) Current employment or being (c) You must ask each peer reviewer

under consideration for employment of any proposal or project you are

at the institution (automatically dishandling to indicate any possible con

qualifying). flicts of interest the reviewer may have. Section 681.25 suggests how you

NOTE: This may include employment via a should do that and explains what you

consulting or advisory arrangement; check should do when a reviewer does have a

with an ethics counselor. possible conflict.

(3) Any formal or informal reem(d) Should an employee of another ployment arrangement with the insti. Government agency have an interest tution (automatically disqualifying). in a proposal or other application sub- (4) Current membership on a visiting mitted by anyone other than that committee or similar body at the insti. agency, do not talk or correspond with tution (automatically disqualifying, that employee at all without first con- but only for proposals or applications sulting an ethics counselor. He or she that originate from the department,

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