Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act of 2023 Introduced in U.S. House - State and Federal Communications

September 1, 2023  •  

Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act of 2023 Introduced in U.S. House

U.S. House of Representatives Chamber - from their Public Domain

On August 29, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to impose stricter lobbying and revolving door restrictions on Department of Defense (DOD) employees and contractors.

House Bill 5306, Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act of 2023:

  • Imposes a four-year ban on certain large DOD contractors from hiring senior DOD officials and former DOD employees who managed their contract;
  • Extends to four years the existing prohibition on former military generals lobbying the DOD and expands the restrictions to other senior officials; and
  • Requires defense contractors to submit detailed annual reports to the DOD regarding former senior DOD officials who are subsequently employed by contractors and requires DOD to make those reports public.

Additionally, the legislation raises the recusal standard for DOD employees by prohibiting them from participating in any matter that might affect the financial interests of their former employer or direct competitor for four years and bans senior DOD officials from owning any stock in a major defense contractor that receives more than $100 million in revenue from DOD contracts.

The bill prohibits senior national security officials from working on behalf of foreign governments and prohibits military and civilian intelligence personnel from working on behalf of foreign governments or private entity that operates predominantly on behalf of a foreign government.

The bill also requires:

  • Large defense contractors to submit a report of their lobbying activities, including who they’re meeting with, what they’re lobbying about, and what (unclassified) information they’re sharing;
  • The secretary of defense to publish online copies of unclassified DOD contracts; and
  • Military services to maintain public websites with the names, biographies, and any associated financial disclosures, as well as DOD Inspector General reports and command climate surveys, regarding all active and reserve component senior military officers.

Congressman Andy Kim, who introduced as the House companion bill to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Senate Bill 2050, said in his press release the government needs “to prevent conflicts of interest, root out corruption, waste, and fraud so [military] officials can focus on the mission in front of them.”

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