The Code Of Ethics For Government Service
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather [now] ask what you can do for your country" - President John F. Kennedy
Monday, October 03, 2005
CONGRESSIONAL INTENTION: (Congressional Record – House, on Page 14172) [See SA30-32 in my papers] "Eighty-fifth Congress approves Code of Ethics for Government Service EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF Honorable Charles E. Bennett Of Florida IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, July 17, 1958 Mr. BENNETT of Florida. Mr. Speaker, the 85th Congress, in putting its (page 14173) official approval on a code of ethics for Government service, has taken a constructive forward step in a difficult field. The final approval by the Senate was on July 11, 1958. Although this is but an expression of the opinion of Congress, it may still be not the least of the acts of this Congress.The code reads as follows:Any person in Government service should:1. Put loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department [e.g. IRS, added] 2. Uphold the Constitution, laws, and legal regulations of the United States and all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.3. Give a full day’s labor for a full day’s pay; giving to the performance of his duties his earnest effort and best thought.4. Seek to find and employ more efficient and economical ways of getting tasks accomplished.5. Never discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not; and never accept, for himself or his family, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of his governmental duties.6. Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of office, since a Government employee has no private word, which can be binding on public duty.7. Engage in no business with the Government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.8. Never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making a private profit.9. Expose corruption wherever discovered.10. Uphold these principles, ever conscious that public office is a public trust. The report of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee reads as follows: The Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, to whom was referred the concurrent resolution (H… Con. Res. 175) setting forth as the sense of Congress a Code of Ethics for Government Service, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the concurrent resolution do pass. PURPOSEThe purpose of this resolution is to set forth in a readily understood but meaningful manner basic standards of conduct as a guide to all who are privileged to be a part of the Government service. The word "guide" is used advisedly. The resolution creates no new law; imposes no new penalties; identifies no new type of crime; and establishes no legal restraints on anyone. It does, however, etch out a charter of conduct against which those in public service may measure their own actions and upon which they may be judged by those whom they serve (emphasis, added) The original framer of this resolution, together with all those who now support its adoption, do not contend for a moment that it will wash all evil from the soul of the Government or the individuals therein. They do believe strongly, however, that it can do no harm and has great possibilities of doing much good. At the very least it may serve to encourage the thoughtless to be more thoughtful. It may cause caution instead of carelessness. It may add strength to the weak and refortify those who are strong. Additionally, it may serve to spearhead other steps that will encourage or require greater fidelity to public trust and at the same time put a break on those who contribute to thoughtless or deliberate derelictions in an effort to obtain special favor or personal gain.COVERAGEThe committee understands and intends that this resolution apply to every servant of the public (emphasis, added) whether he be the President, a Member of Congress, a lifelong career employee, or an employee engaged only on a temporary basis to expedite the movement of mail during the Christmas rush. The committee does not subscribe to or could it support any code of principles that applied only to some and not to others. It believes there is no room in a great democracy such as ours for any set of double standards. In that framework, the committee unanimously approved the resolution as providing a needed yardstick for the use of all who serve in the Federal service and for the use of those being served with which to measure and judge the propriety of official and personal conduct of every public official and employee – whether elected or appointed – and without regard to the position held or the duties performed [emphasis, added].INDIVIDUAL VIEWS OF SENATORS RICHARD L.NEUBERGER AND JOSEPH S. CLARK, JR. We strongly support and commend the code of ethics provided in this bill. A meaningful code is long overdue. It should serve as a guide for the executive and legislative branches alike, and for policymaking officials as well as their subordinates. Precepts of this kind frequently can serve as a standard and an inspiration to good conduct and sound behavior. At the same time, we desire to stress that this code alone is not enough. After all, it is a statement of principles which is without specific enforcement provisions [emphasis, added]. We believe that, in the long run, there will be required definite and explicit conflict-of-inertest statutes which will govern the executive and legislative branches with respect to gifts, disclosure of outside income, and other matters. We also suggest far more stringent regulation of political campaign contributions and similar matters, and consideration of such reforms in this field as originally were proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt and others long ago. In advancing these views, we criticize no individuals or party or group. All in public life face such problems equally. Many innocent people of high personal ethics have been embarrassed and perplexed by situations that arise so frequently under existing conditions. We trust, therefore, that the present laudable code of government ethics will be reinforced in the early future by reforms of greater stringency and efficacy (emphasis, added) [e.g., the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, 20 years later, discussed on p. 122 in my book et seq., text added]. The report of the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service is as follows: The committee on Post Office and Civil Service, to whom was referred the concurrent resolution (H. Con. 175), proposing a code of ethics for Government service, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the concurrent resolution do pass.STATEMENTHouse Concurrent Resolution 175 is essentially a declaration of fundamental principles of conduct that should be observed by all persons in the public service. It spells out in clear and straightforward language long-recognized concepts of the high obligations and responsibilities, as well as the rights and privileges, attendant upon service for our Government. It reaffirms the traditional standard – that those holding public office are not owners of authority but agents of public purpose [emphasis, added] – concerning which there can be no disagreement, and to which all Federal employees unquestionably should adhere. It is not a mandate. It creates no new crime or penalty. Nor does it impose any positive legal requirement for specific acts or omissions. The code of ethics provided by this resolution has the strong support of organized labor. It has the unqualified endorsement of the Government Employees’ Council, AFL-CIO, and other representatives of Federal employee unions. The Civil Service Commission, which is the central personnel authority for the Federal Government, has reported its full agreement with the purpose and nature of the resolution. The Department of Justice has concurred in this view. The Comptroler General of the United States. The independent authority established by the Congress to watch over expenditures of public funds, has stated that such a code of ethics will be useful in placing Government personnel on notice of what actually is expected of them and, in addition, giving notice to those dealing with Government personnel as to just what such personnel may and may not do in the performance of their public duties. This unanimity of opinion extends largely to the Congress, and some 30 Members of Congress have introduced similar resolutions in the past few years. The committee emphasizes that this resolution in no way reflects on the integrity or the efficiency of the great body of Federal employees. The vast majority of men and women in our Government are conscientious, able, loyal, and honest public servants – above criticism in their official conduct. Their personal and official actions are guided by ethical standards as high and strict as the letter and spirit of any code that could be written into law. These men and women will welcome the adoption, in this code of ethics, of an affirmation of their own high standards. It will strengthen their hand in guiding and correcting any tendency toward cynicism of the high trust associated with public service, or deviation from proper conduct, that is bound to occur among some few in a Government as great and complex as the Government of the United States. A strong and unwavering policy, known to all both in and out of Government, is the best protection against lowering of ethical standards in the day-to-day performance of official duties by our more than 2 million Federal officers and employees [emphasis added]. In the judgment of the committee, the effectiveness of this resolution lies in simplicity and directness of its language. It does not pretend or purport to create new or unfamiliar standards. It is a concise restatement – as a part of the laws under which the Federal Government operates – of the principles of conduct in the public service which always have been expected by the American people [emphasis, added]. This and earlier proposed resolutions have been careful and extensive consideration by the Post Office and Civil Service Committee over the past several years. A number of committee suggestions and recommendations for clarification and improvement have been incorporated in House Concurrent Resolution 175. All points of difference and all questions of policy, with respect to the language of the resolution have been resolved. The committee knows of no objection whatever to the resolution in its present form. There will be no cost as a result of approval of this resolution. The favorable reports of the United States Civil Service Commission and the Comptroller General of the United States on House Concurrent Resolution 5 and 43, 85th Congress (similar to H. Con. 175), follow: Civil Service Commission,Wasington, D.C., April 26, 1957. Hon. Tom Murray, Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, Wash., D.C.Dear Mr. Murray: This is in reply to your letters of January 17, 1957, asking for the (continued on page 14174) Commission’s views on House Concurrent Resolution 5 and 43, introduced by Congressman Bennett and Congresswoman St. George, respectively, setting forth a code of ethics to be adhered to be all Government employees, including office holders. The subject of ethics and morality of Federal employees is vitally important to a free government. While public employee morality has improved tremendously in this country in the past 75 years, this is an area where perfection will never be reached. The executive branch is very conscious that constant emphasis must be given to the basic thought that those holding public office, as servants of the public, are not owners of authority but agents of public purpose (emphasis, added). It is possible that a code of ethics to which Federal employees can look as a guide to conduct would help to reemphasize the importance of this subject and contribute to a further improvement of public standards. The Commission, therefore, is in full agreement with the general purpose and the nature of the resolutions. House Concurrent Resolution 43 is identical with the resolutions introduced by Congressman BENNETT and Congresswoman St. George in previous Congresses. House Concurrent Resolution 5 contains the amended language which was worked out by a subcommittee, chaired by Congressman RHODES of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, after their hearings on March 26, 1956. These amendments took into account a number of technical suggestions made by the Commission. Congressman BENNETT on February 12, 1957, sent us a marked copy of House Concurrent Resolution 5 containing several further changes of wording as shown in the enclosure. The Commission is in full agreement with the general purpose and nature of House Concurrent Resolution 5 and House Concurrent Resolution 43 and fully endorses House Concurrent Resolution 5. The editorial revisions proposed by Congressman BENNETT appear desiable. The Bureau of the Budget has advised us that it has no objection to the submission of this report. By direction of the Commission: Sincerely yours,Harris Ellsworth, Chairmman.Comptroller General of the United States,Washington, February 6, 1957.Hon. Tom Murray,Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.Dear Mr. Chairman: Your letter dated January 17, 1957, and undated letter, both acknowledged on January 18, 1957, transmitted House Concurrent Resolution 5 and House Concurrent Resolution 43, respectively, for a report thereon by our Office. This Office is in agreement with the purpose of these resolutions and regards House Concurrent Resolution 5 as the preferable of the two. House Concurrent Resolution 5 and House Concurrent Resolution 43 are similar in that both resolutions would establish a code of ethics in the Government service which, in the sense of the Congress, should be adhered to by Government officials and employees, including office holders. However, the House Concurrent Resolution 5 embodies certain changes in language which were suggested by the Civil Service Commission and developed in the hearings before your committee upon consideration of House Concurrent Resolution 2 and House Concurrent Resolution 17, both of the 84th Congress; and we regard the changes as desirable modifications. Concerning the need for the establishment of a code of ethics for persons in Government service, we believe that the large majority of all Government personnel need no reminder such as the suggested code of ethics to guide their activities, official or personal, being already possessed of moral standards of conduct as strict in letter, and spirit as the proposed code of ethics. However, we recognize that in our complex Government it is impossible always to exclude from employment every person of unscrupulous character who may be cynical of the high trust associated with Government service. Any suggested course of conduct as is contemplated in the proposed code of ethics probably would have little or no deterrent value as to such persons. We feel that the best protection to the public against questionable activities of Government officials is constant and unwavering vigilance by those charged with the administration of the departments and agencies. In recent years many of the executive departments and agencies have provided through appropriate regulations codes of conduct to be followed by their officers and employees. Many of the regulations and codes are more comprehensive and strict than the code proposed in the concurrent resolutions and provide suitable penalties for violations thereof. We believe such codes of ethics are useful because they place Government personnel on notice of what actually is expected of them and in addition they provide notice to those dealing with Government officials, as to just what the official may or may not do in the performance of his duties (emphasis, added). Accordingly, we favor the adoption of the current resolutions notwithstanding that many Government departments and agencies have regulations governing the conduct of their employees. Such a code, while without the status of a mandate, would have a salutary effect and should provide a basis and incentive for the promulgation of more definitive regulations by all Government departments and agencies on the matter of ethical conduct of their officials and employees, thus emphasizing to all concerned the interest of the Congress in this matter (emphasis, added). Enclosed for your information is a copy of Comptroller General’s Order No. 4.25 governing the conduct of the officers and employees of the General Accounting Office. Sincerely yours, Comptroller General of the United States" [END]---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"The Code of Ethics For Government Service" is a concurrent resolution. Section 29:3 in Sutherlan Statutory Construction (6th edition) states this: "A concurrent resolution is merely a simple resolution which is passed by both houses of the legislature... It is the method most frequently used by state legislatures in petitioning Congress... Although a concurrent resolution speaks for the entire legislature, it has only a limited legal effect and for most purposes is not law."COMMENT:The above text was also copied from my book titled "HOW ABORTION WILL BECOME UNCONSTITUTIONAL" [in the index portion, thereof] which text lends the background to my civic motivation no less for my insubordination during my federal employment as a probationer in 1980, only after however the Federal Government left with me no other alternative to accommodate to my religious Prolife practice as a Roman Catholic, pursuant to Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1974 who declared this: "[par. #22] It must in any case be clearly understood that a Christian can never conform to a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity (that is, lawfulness, added) of abortion..." in his Declaration on Procured Abortion.
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