Questions and Answers for Employees
Q1: What’s the purpose of the new regulation?
A1: To postpone the deadline for the filing of the supplemental financial disclosure report required of NIH employees by the February 3, 2005, interim final ethics regulation to October 3, 2005. It also has the effect of moving the divestiture deadline to January 2, 2006.
Q2: Why was a new regulation needed?
A2: The February 3, 2005, interim final ethics regulation set the due date for the supplemental financial disclosure report and allowed a 90-day extension of the filing date to July 5, 2005, which the department granted for all affected employees. Without a new regulation to amend the February rule, employees would have been required to file the disclosure reports on July 5, 2005.
As has been previously announced, the Department and NIH are reviewing the comments received on the interim final ethics regulation issued on February 3, 2005, and is considering changes based on these comments. Accordingly, to allow time for this review and consideration, the deadline for filing supplemental financial disclosure reports has been moved to October 3, 2005.
Q3: Should anyone divest of potentially prohibited holdings right now?
A3: Employees are not required to divest any holdings unless they are specifically directed to do so. However, under longstanding government ethics law, recusals are required in many circumstances, depending on an employee’s holdings.
Q4: To whom does this regulation apply?
A4: All NIH staff who are presently employees of the agency or become employees of the agency before September 4, 2005. NIH staff who are not employees, i.e., guest researchers, IPA detailees, special volunteers, contractors and non-employee visiting and IRTA/CRTA fellows were not, by law, subject to the supplemental financial disclosure reporting requirement, so this regulation providing an extension has no direct application for them, although ethics-related contract terms continue to apply.
Q5: Dr. Zerhouni has said that the February interim final ethics regulation needed to be amended. Is this the extent of the amendment just a delay in the filing date and divestiture period?
A5: The Department and NIH have committed to evaluating the impact and effect of the interim final regulation within one year of publication. The Department and NIH are continuing to assess the comments received about the interim final regulation and are considering changes based on those comments.