Restrictions on Post-Government Employment

Summary of the Ethics Rules for Seeking Employment and Post-Government Employment


After you leave Federal service, 18 U.S.C. § 207 imposes certain post-Government employment restrictions that may limit the type of work you may perform for your new employer for certain periods of time. (See 5 C.F.R. part 2641.) The Procurement Integrity Act (see 41 U.S.C. § 2104 and 48 C.F.R. §§ 3-104.1 through .09) imposes additional restrictions for certain employees who participated in costly procurement work. Former employees who are carrying out official duties as an employee or as an elected or appointed official of a tribal organization or intertribal consortium are not subject to 18 U.S.C. § 207 restrictions if they advise the Government in writing of any personal and substantial involvement they had as a Government employee in connection with the matter. (See 25 U.S.C. § 5323(j).)

Lifetime Restriction [18 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1)]

If you participated personally and substantially in any particular matter (grants, contracts, licenses, permits, applications, litigation, etc.), involving specific parties, you may never communicate with the intent to influence on behalf of any non-Federal entity, to any Federal department, agency, or court regarding that same particular matter.

Two-Year Restriction [18 U.S.C. § 207(a)(2)]

For matters under your official responsibility during your last year of Government service, you are restricted for two years after you leave Government service from representing any non-Federal entity to any Federal department, agency, or court regarding those matters.

One-Year Restriction on Aiding and Advising [18 U.S.C. § 207(b)]

For one year after Government service terminates, you may not aid or advise any non-Federal entity (other than the United States) concerning any ongoing trade or treaty negotiation in which you participated personally and substantially during your last year of Government service.

ADDITIONAL LAWS THAT APPLY TO FORMER SENIOR EMPLOYEES (Level II through V of the Executive Schedule and those paid equal to or greater than 86.5% of the rate for level II of the Executive Schedule ($164,004, effective January 7, 2018)) AND FORMER VERY SENIOR EMPLOYEES (Level I of the Executive Schedule)

One-Year Restriction on Communication with One's Former Agency - 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) - For one year after leaving senior service, no former senior employee may make, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before the Department or agency in which he or she served in the one year period prior to termination from senior service. Consult your ethics counselor for certain limited exceptions to this prohibition. 

One-Year Restriction Relating to Foreign Entities - 18 U.S.C. § 207(f) - For one year after leaving Government service, a former senior employee may not knowingly aid, advise, or represent a foreign entity, with the intent to influence the official action of any employee of any U.S. agency or department.

Two-Year Restriction for Very Senior Employees - 18 U.S.C. § 207(d) - For two years after service in a very senior position, former Executive Schedule Level I employees (Cabinet officials) and certain very senior employees in the Executive Office of the President are prohibited from making, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before: (1) any individual appointed to an Executive Level position; or (2) any employee of a Department or agency in which the former very senior employee served during his or her last year of Government service.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act - Former DOI senior officials who directly or indirectly discharged duties or responsibilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act have additional post-government employment representational restrictions.

Ethics Pledge Restrictions for Political Appointees - Full-time, non-career political appointees are subject to additional post-government employment restrictions under the Ethics Pledge (Executive Order 13770).  Former politcal appointees also are prohibited from lobbying covered Executive Branch officials or non-career SES appointees for the remainder of the Administration or lobbying their former agency for five years after termination of employment.