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USGS Scientist Emeritus Program: Ethics Rules for Scientists Emeriti

USGS scientist emeritus status brings with it significant visibility and responsibility. Emeritus scientists must continue to avoid financial conflicts of interest, but they are not subject to the investment restrictions of the Organic Act or the USGS Conflict of Interest Policy and they are not required to file financial conflict of interest reports. However, there are numerous ethics rules that must continue to followed as a condition of receiving and/or retaining scientist emeritus status.

Questions or concerns regarding these rules should be directed to USGS Ethics Office [] or send email to

  1. You must avoid any conflicts of interest between your scientist emeritus status and your personal financial interests or those interests imputed to you. When performing scientist emeritus work, you may not take any official actions (including providing recommendations and advice to USGS personnel) that could financially benefit you, your spouse, any entity with whom you work, with whom you are engaged in employment negotiations or with whom you have financial interest.
  2. You must keep the USGS personnel with whom you are associated as a scientist emeritus informed as to your employment status. This enables USGS personnel to determine whether there are projects on which you should not work and to assist you in avoiding conflicts of interest.
  3. You must protect and conserve Government resources. Government resources may only be used for authorized purposes and in furtherance of the USGS mission. Government resources may not be used for commercial activities. You may utilize USGS computer resources in accordance with the USGS Limited Use Policy, so long as the use does not adversely impact the USGS mission. If you are engaged in outside employment, you may not use your USGS e-mail account in association with that employment.
  4. You must not violate post-Government employment restrictions, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. 207. All USGS retirees are subject to post-Government representational restrictions, and some personnel have more restrictions than others. For further information on post-Government employment restrictions, see the Ethics Office webpage titled Seeking Employment and Post-Government Employment [] or contact the USGS Ethics Office [].
  5. You may not use your scientist emeritus status for your personal financial gain. If you have a consulting business, there must be a clear distinction between your scientist emeritus status and your consulting business. This restriction does not prevent you from accepting honoraria for speeches or presentations you are invited to give because of your scientific experience and expertise. If such honoraria are proposed or accepted, you should inform the USGS personnel with whom you perform your scientist emeritus duties.
  6. You may not release non-public information to unauthorized entities.
  7. You may not testify or provide a deposition as an expert witness in matters concerning your scientist emeritus work, or concerning the USGS work of the project/team with which you are associated, without prior authorization from the Ethics Office.
  8. You may not fundraise for a third party entity on Government property or using Government resources (except for the Combined Federal Campaign).
  9. You may not engage in political activities in Government facilities or using Government resources.
  10. You may not engage in lobbying activities using appropriated funds or Government resources.


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