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Interpretative Opinion 97-03: Conflict of Interest

March 6, 1997
 

Ms. Maria Day-Marshall
Chief Financial Officer
American Preferred Provider Plan, DC, Inc.
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC  20036

Re: Post-Employment Conflict of Interest

Dear Ms. Day-Marshall:

This responds to your request for an opinion dated March 5, 1997 indicating whether it would be permissible for you, in light of your former employment with the District of Columbia Government, to represent your current employer, American Preferred Provider Plan, DC, Inc., before a District of Columbia Government Commission. Specifically, you state the following: (1) that your current employer has submitted a proposal to a Department of Human Services Commission to provide health care services to eligible District residents; (2) that you have been designated by your current employer to represent it at the proposal review session concerning its proposal; (3) that you resigned as Treasurer of the District of Columbia in June 1996; (4) that you were paid at the DS-17 salary level at the time of your resignation from the DC Government; (5) that you were never employed by the Department of Human Services while employed by the District of Columbia Government; and (6) that you never performed work directly for the Department of Human Services apart from paying its bills, as was your responsibility for every other department or agency in the DC Government.

The post-employment activities of former DC Government employees are governed by Title 18, United States Code, Section 207, as implemented by Chapter 18 of the District of Columbia Personnel Regulations (Regulations), §§ 1814 and 1815 (copy enclosed).  Under these provisions, you are prohibited from ever representing  a  party  before  the DC government relating to a specific matter on which you personally worked as a government employee.  For example, while employed as the DC Treasurer, you may have worked personally on matters involving payments to your current employer, American Preferred Provider Plan, DC, Inc.  After leaving the Office of the DC Treasurer, you are asked by your current employer to represent it with respect to any such payment made during your tenure.  You may not do so.  As used herein, the term, “represent”, means acting as an agent or attorney, or other representative in an appearance, or communicating with intent to influence.

Further, for two (2) years after your departure from the DC Government, you are prohibited from representing a party relative to a matter pending under your supervision during your last year in government.  This restriction applies even if you did not personally work on the matter.  Again, this restriction is only on representing a party before the DC Government.

Moreover, because you were a “senior employee”, i.e., paid at the level of DS-17 or above, additional restrictions apply.  Section 1814.12 of the Regulations prohibits a former senior employee for one (1) year after his or her departure from government “from having any transactions with the former agency intended to influence the agency in connection with any particular government matter pending before the agency or in which it has a direct and substantial interest.”  This one (1) year period is calculated from the date that your responsibility as a senior employee in a particular agency ends, not from the termination of government service.

Additionally, because you were a senior employee, you are prohibited by § 1814.10, for two (2) years from the date of your departure from government service, from assisting another person at an appearance before the government relative to matters on which you personally worked.

Therefore, based on your representations as applied to relevant law, it is the opinion of the Office of Campaign Finance  that you would not be prohibited from  representing  your  current employer at the proposal review session scheduled before the District of Columbia Government.