Law prohibits certain former federal employees from lobbying or otherwise attempting to influence agencies for which they worked for a period of one year after they leave. The rules are meant to discourage conflicts of interest and slow the spin of Washington’s revolving door between the public and private sectors.
But agencies can ask to exclude positions from the positions, as was the case in 1993 and again in 2003, when the SEC was granted exemptions for a number of positions in the name of helping improve recruitment and retention.
The new regulations, to be published in Thursday’s Federal Register, come at the urging of the SEC, according to an OGE notice issued Wednesday.
“The SEC explains that the original bases for these exemptions no longer exist,” the notice states. “In particular, the SEC states that it is no longer experiencing undue hardship in obtaining qualified personnel to fill the covered positions.”
Among the positions affected are solicitor for the Office of the General Counsel and the Division of Enforcements chief litigation counsel and deputy chief litigation counsel, among others.
Arguing in favor of the rule, the SEC said the expanded restrictions would “create parity between SEC employees occupying the covered positions and employees in similar positions at other financial regulatory agencies who are currently subject to the one year cooling-off prohibitions.”
The regulations are set to take effect 90 days after the rule is published.