Office of Ethics
United States Department of Agriculture

Conflict-of-Interest Analysis

Background

Conflict-of-interest analysis must be conducted by the Deciding Official prior to the Agency's accepting funds from non-Federal sources regardless of whether or not the non-Federal source is identified as a prohibited source or has established a cooperative agreement.

Prohibition

Payment from any non-Federal source shall not be accepted if the Deciding Official determines that acceptance would cause the public, with knowledge of all the facts, to question the integrity of USDA programs or operations.

Acceptance of payment from a prohibited source is also disallowed unless offered in accordance with a cooperative agreement/cooperative exchange.

Considerations for Conflict-of-Interest Analysis

The following considerations shall guide the Deciding Official when conducting conflict-of-interest analysis:

Number

Consideration

1

The identity of the non-Federal source;

2

The purpose of the meeting or similar function;

3

The identity of other expected participants;

4

The nature and sensitivity of any matter pending at USDA affecting the interests of the non-Federal source;

5

The significance of the employee's role in any such matter; and

6

The monetary value and character of the travel benefits offered by the non-Federal source.

Special Note

The Deciding Official may find that, while acceptance from the non-Federal source is permissible, it is in the interest of the Agency to qualify acceptance of offered payment by, for example, authorizing attendance at only a portion of the event or limiting the type of benefits that may be accepted.