[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 178 (Friday, September 13, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56704-56705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22251]


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OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS


Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB 
Review; Proposed Collection; Comment Request for a Modified OGE Form 
201 Ethics in Government Act Access Form

AGENCY: Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: After publication of this second round notice, OGE plans to 
submit a proposed modified OGE Form 201 Ethics in Government Act access 
form to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and 
approval of a three-year extension under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). The OGE Form 201 is used by persons 
requesting access to executive branch public financial disclosure 
reports and other covered records.

DATES: Written comments by the public and the agencies on this proposed 
extension are invited and must be received on or before October 15, 
2013.

ADDRESSES: Comments on this paperwork notice may be submitted to the 
Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk Officer for OGE, via fax at 
202-395-6974 or email at OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Paul D. Ledvina at the U.S. Office 
of Government Ethics; telephone: 202-482-9247; TTY: 800-877-8339; FAX: 
202-482-9237; Email: paul.ledvina@oge.gov. An electronic copy of the 
OGE Form 201 version used to manually submit access requests to OGE or 
other executive branch agencies by mail or FAX is available in the 
Forms Library section of OGE's Web site at http://www.oge.gov. A copy 
of the proposed modified form may be obtained, without charge, by 
contacting Mr. Ledvina. An automated version of the OGE Form 201, also 
available on OGE's Web site, enables the requester to fill out, submit 
and receive immediate access to financial reports and certain related 
records for individuals who have been nominated by the President to 
executive branch positions requiring Senate confirmation, and 
individuals who have declared their candidacy for the Office of the 
President of the United States.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Title: Request to Inspect or Receive Copies of Executive Branch 
Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports or Other Covered Records.
    Agency Form Number: OGE Form 201.
    OMB Control Number: 3209-0002.
    Type of Information Collection: Extension with modifications of a 
currently approved collection.
    Type of Review Request: Regular.
    Respondents: Individuals requesting access to executive branch 
public financial disclosure reports and other covered records.
    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 870.
    Estimated Time per Response: 10 minutes.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 145 hours.

[[Page 56705]]

    Abstract: The OGE Form 201 (201 form) collects information from, 
and provides certain information to, persons who seek access to OGE 
Form 278/SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Reports, including OGE Form 
278-T Periodic Transaction Reports (collectively referred to as 278 
reports or public financial disclosure reports), and other covered 
records. The form reflects the requirements of the Ethics in Government 
Act (EIGA), the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 
(STOCK Act), and OGE's implementing regulations that must be met by a 
person before access can be granted. These requirements relate to 
information collected about the identity of the requester, as well as 
any other person on whose behalf a record is sought, and notification 
of prohibited uses of executive branch public disclosure financial 
reports. See EIGA at 5 U.S.C. app. Sec. Sec.  105(b) and (c), and 
402(b)(1); the STOCK Act, Public Law 112-105 (April 4, 2012), as 
amended by, Public Law 113-7 (April 15, 2013); and 5 CFR 2634.603(c) 
and (f) of OGE's executive branchwide regulations. Executive branch 
departments and agencies are encouraged to utilize the 201 form for 
individuals seeking access to public financial disclosure reports and 
other covered documents. OGE permits departments and agencies to use or 
develop their own forms as long as the forms collect and provide all of 
the required information.
    OGE is proposing several modifications to both the non-automated 
and automated versions of the 201 form. Specifically, OGE proposes to 
modify the title of the form, add a warning to requestors that 
intentional falsification of the information required by the 201 form 
may result in prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001, and update the Privacy 
Act Statement to include an additional routine use. OGE is proposing 
that this renewal request to OMB cover the fully automated version of 
the 201 form, available only through the OGE Web site at www.oge.gov. 
Initially launched in March 2012, this automated version of the access 
form enables a requestor to obtain, immediately upon Web site 
submission of the completed 201 form, financial disclosure reports and 
other covered records of individuals who have been nominated by the 
President to executive branch positions requiring Senate confirmation 
(PAS officials) and individuals who have declared their candidacy for 
the Office of the President of the United States. The automated OGE Web 
site version of the form also can be used by requestors to download or 
view a list of all 201 form requests for access to financial disclosure 
reports for a specific filer provided through the OGE Web site.
    OGE published a first round notice of its intent to request 
paperwork clearance for a proposed modified OGE Form 201 Ethics in 
Government Act Access Form. See 78 FR 24749-24750 (April 26, 2013). OGE 
received comments from two agencies in response to that paperwork 
notice. One agency noted that the proposed addition of the reference to 
18 U.S.C. 1001 would serve as a useful additional deterrent to misuse 
of 278 reports and other covered records.
    Another agency raised a question regarding how OGE will verify the 
identity of requestors and the validity of requests seeking access to 
278 reports and other documents using the automated 201 form without 
some form of online signature verification. OGE notes that there is no 
requirement in EIGA that a requester's identity be verified in order to 
obtain access to or copies of 278 reports or other covered records, and 
OGE does not perform such verification. Section 105(b)(2) of EIGA 
requires that a requestor provide certain information, such as the 
requestor's name, occupation, address, and the name and address of any 
other person or organization on whose behalf the copy of or access to a 
report is requested, and to ``acknowledge'' in writing the prohibitions 
on obtaining and use of a 278 report prior to being granted a copy of 
or access to a report. On the paper version of the 201 form, the 
requestor's signature is intended to fulfill the acknowledgment 
requirement; the signature is not used as a basis to verify the 
identity of the requestor or the validity of a request. On the 
electronic version of the 201 form, the acknowledgment requirement is 
met by the requestor checking a box. The same information and 
acknowledgement is required on both the paper and the automated 201 
forms. Therefore, while the automated 201 form will not have a separate 
verification mechanism, it fully complies with the requirements of EIGA 
as set forth in 5 U.S.C app. Sec.  105(b)(2), and is comparable to the 
non-automated 201 form.
    The same agency questioned whether the proposed reference to 18 
U.S.C. 1001 on the 201 form would serve as an effective deterrent in 
the absence of a process for verifying each requestor's identifying 
information. Section 1001 prohibits the knowing and willful: (1) 
Falsification or omission by trick or scheme of any material fact; (2) 
making of material false statements; or (3) knowing use of a false 
document containing materially false statements, in all matters within 
the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branches of 
the United States Government. The purpose of including the reference to 
18 U.S.C. 1001 is to put requestors on notice of a legal prohibition on 
falsification of information they are required to provide on the 201 
form. As such, the reference alone has deterrent value, even if it is 
not itself an investigative tool for OGE's purposes.
    The same agency also requested clarification as to whether OGE may 
legally continue to make the financial disclosure reports of all PAS 
officials available to requestors on-line, in light of an amendment to 
the STOCK Act that limits the requirement of on-line posting of public 
financial disclosure reports to PAS officials occupying positions 
listed in 5 U.S.C. 5312 and 5313. See Public Law 113-7 (April 12, 
2013). While section (a)(1) of Public Law 113-7 limits the STOCK Act's 
requirement that public financial disclosure reports filed pursuant to 
Title I of EIGA be available on-line to select high-level officials 
(president, vice president and officials occupying positions listed in 
Executive Schedules I and II), that section does not prohibit use of 
the Internet to release the reports of PAS officials to requestors upon 
written application. The agency's comment misses this important 
distinction. OGE allows requestors to submit on-line requests for and 
gain access to the public financial disclosure reports of most PAS 
officials through an automated, written application process that fully 
conforms to the statutory requirements of EIGA set forth at 5 U.S.C. 
app. Sec.  105(b)(2).
    Request for Comments: Agency and public comment is again invited 
specifically on the need for and practical utility of this information 
collection, the accuracy of OGE's burden estimate, the enhancement of 
quality, utility and clarity of the information collected, and the 
minimization of burden (including the use of information technology). 
Comments received in response to this notice will be summarized for, 
and may be included with, the OGE request for extension of OMB 
paperwork approval. The comments will also become a matter of public 
record.

    Approved: September 6, 2013.
Walter M. Shaub, Jr.,
Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
[FR Doc. 2013-22251 Filed 9-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6345-03-P