Ethics

CIOs: don't take the free movie tickets

Photo credit: stockelements / Shutterstock.com

Photo credit: stockelements / Shutterstock.com

To go by the reviews, there are many good reasons not to see the new film "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." Now the Office of Government Ethics is adding a reason of its own.

In a March 29 email obtained by FCW, Office of Government Ethics Agency Assistance Branch Chief Nicole Stein advised agency ethics officers to warn their CIOs against attending an upcoming free screening of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" sponsored by an IT vendor with government contracts.

The vendor, who is not named in the OGE email, had scheduled a screening for 1 p.m. on March 30.

The email, sent to agency ethics officials, notes that the vendor "appears to be targeting senior information technology (IT) officials and possibly senior agency leaders in general. You may want to alert your Chief Information Officer (CIO) and top agency leadership that this offered gift" is not covered by exceptions for "widely attended gatherings" in government ethics rules.

The apparent plan was to lure feds in with free tickets, then show them a presentation on "What's new in data protection" before the superhero flick.

"[P]lays, operas, concerts and similar performances generally do not qualify for the… gift exception," Stein noted, pointing to an earlier OGE determination that offering the exemption for performances "would be a case of the 'tail wagging the dog.'"

Stein told FCW she wasn't certain whether she could publicly identify the vendor, and directed FCW to OGE's press officer, who did not immediately respond.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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