Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principle of public service. "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." This sentiment has been expressed by numerous others, over time becoming the familiar principle "Public service is public trust."
To ensure public confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, Executive Order 12674 (as amended) forms the framework for the ethical behavior required and expected of all Federal employees. As a condition of public service, you are expected to adhere to these fundamental principles of ethical behavior:
A collection of statutes, executive order, and regulations underscore the notion that public service is a public trust. The criminal bribery and conflict of interest statutes (18 U.S.C.§§ 201 and 202-209, respectively) are the core of the Federal ethics program. These statutes are implemented, in large part, by the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (Standards), 5 C.F.R. part 2635, and the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Department of the Interior (DOI Supplemental Standards), 5 C.F.R part 3501.
Violations of ethics laws are subject to criminal or civil action by the Department of Justice. Violations of the Standards or DOI Supplemental Standards may result in disciplinary or adverse action. Accordingly, employees are strongly encouraged to consult with an ethics counselor before embarking on an activity if they have any question about the ethical propriety of that action.