On July 30th, the Department of Justice, with the concurrence of the Office of Government Ethics, revealed new ethics “supplementary standards of ethical conduct” for ATF agents. The rules, effective immediately, restrict ATF agents from having “financial interest” in businesses that sell alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or explosives, preventing potential conflicts of interest. The DOJ suggests these standards are important for three reasons:
- To “maintain ATF’s appearance of impartiality and objectivity in the execution of its regulatory law enforcement functions,”
- To “eliminate a regulated entity’s concern that sensitive information provided to the ATF might be misused for private gain,” and
- To “avoid the large-scale recusal of employees from official matters resulting in an inability of ATF to fulfill its mission.”
In addition, the final rule designates ATF as a “separate agency for purposes of applying the gifts and the teaching, speaking, and writing provisions of the OGE standards.”
You can read the full DOJ document here.