USGS Ethics Office

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRK.A and BRK.B) is a prohibited investment- NTK Announcement, April 8, 2019

On April 8, 2019, the Ethics Office posted the following announcement on the USGS internal website, @theCore.  The announcement was included in a Need To Know e-mail to all USGS employees the same day.

Questions or concerns regarding this announcement should be directed to ethicsoffice@usgs.gov

Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRK.B) was added to the Section 2 of the Financial Guide for USGS Employees on 03.25.19 via publication of an announcement in the Need to Know on 03.25.19.  Ownership of stock in Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRK.B) is prohibited by the USGS Organic Act, 43 U.S. Code § 31(a).  The USGS Organic Act, 43 U.S. Code § 31(a), states in part that “The Director and members of the Geological Survey shall have no personal or private interests in the lands or mineral wealth of the region under survey, and shall execute no surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.”  

BRK.B owns Bridger Coal, Cal Energy Co, and Pacificorp which all independently make BRK.B prohibited as each of the companies lease a significant amount of acres of Federal land for the purpose of coal mining.  The only way to invest in Bridger Coal and Cal Energy Co. is to buy either BRK.B or BRK.A.  This means that USGS employees, their spouses and minor children are prohibited from holding stock in Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRK.A and BRK.B).  The USGS Ethics Office will ensure that this is corrected in the next version of the Financial Guide.  

If you, your spouse or minor children have stock in either BRK.A or BRK.B, please contact the Ethics Office at ethicsoffice@usgs.gov by April 15, 2019, 11:59PM EST.  If you have already contacted ethicsoffice@usgs.gov, please disregard this announcement.