[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 27 (Monday, February 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7565-7567]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02212]



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Rules and Regulations
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 27 / Monday, February 10, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 7565]]



NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

5 CFR Part 6901

[Docket Number--2014-0001]
RIN 2700-AE03


Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

ACTION: Interim Rule with request for comments; amendments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with 
the concurrence of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), is amending 
the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The interim rule will 
permit student interns to seek prior approval to engage in outside 
employment with a NASA contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or party to 
a NASA agreement in connection with work performed by that entity or 
under that agreement. These amendments will clarify the types of 
outside employment activities that require approval; streamline the 
process for approval; eliminate obsolete position titles; and extend 
the permissible time period of approval.

DATES: Effective Date: February 10, 2014. Comment Date: Comments must 
be received by April 11, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments must be identified with RINs 2700-AE03 and may be 
sent to NASA via the Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Please note that NASA will post all comments on the Internet 
with changes, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam F. Greenstone, Alternate 
Designated Agency Ethics Official, NASA Office of the General Counsel, 
300 E. St. SW., Washington, DC 20546, 202.358.1775, 
adam.f.greenstone@nasa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On August 7, 1992, OGE published the Standards of Ethical Conduct 
for Employees of the Executive Branch (OGE Standards). See 57 FR 35006-
35067, as corrected at 57 FR 48557, 57 FR 52483, and 60 FR 51167, with 
additional grace period extensions for certain existing provisions at 
59 FR 4779-4780, 60 FR 6390-6391, and 60 FR 66857-66858. The OGE 
Standards, codified at 5 CFR part 2635, effective February 3, 1993, 
established uniform standards of ethical conduct that apply to all 
executive branch personnel. Section 2635.105 of the OGE Standards 
authorizes an agency, with the concurrence of OGE, to adopt agency-
specific supplemental regulations that are necessary to properly 
implement its ethics program.
    In 1994, NASA, with OGE's concurrence, established supplemental 
standards of ethical conduct for NASA employees. See 59 FR 49335-49338 
(Sept. 28, 1994), as codified at 5 CFR part 6901. NASA, with OGE's 
concurrence, now amends its supplemental standards of conduct as 
follows.
    Under the existing regulation at 5 CFR 6901.103(c), NASA employees 
other than special Government employees are generally prohibited from 
engaging in outside employment with a NASA contractor, subcontractor, 
or grantee in connection with work performed by that entity for NASA; 
or a party to a Space Act agreement, Commercial Launch Act agreement, 
or other agreement to which NASA is a party pursuant to specific 
statutory authority, if the employment is in connection with work 
performed under that agreement. When 5 CFR 6901.103 became effective in 
1994, NASA stated that outside employment with those entities would 
cause reasonable persons to question the impartiality and objectivity 
with which NASA programs are administered. As a result, student interns 
generally have been barred from employment with an entity performing 
work under a NASA contract, grant, or Space Act agreement in connection 
with that work. Consequently, these students may not perform NASA-
related work at their home institutions. This prohibition prevents a 
graduate assistant, for example, from performing basic research in 
connection with a NASA-funded research program.
    NASA now has concluded that the prohibition is unnecessarily broad, 
and that the integrity of NASA's operations will not be diminished by 
liberalizing the current prohibition to permit student interns to seek 
approval to engage in outside activities with these entities. Student 
interns typically perform basic research functions without substantial 
involvement in NASA decisions that affect outside entities, and often 
spend extended periods in leave without pay status during semesters 
when they carry a full-time academic workload. It is also vital that 
students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines 
have full access to NASA development opportunities to maintain U.S. 
leadership in these fields. For these reasons, NASA, with OGE's 
concurrence, is retaining but liberalizing this provision in a revised 
paragraph (c) of Sec.  6901.103 to permit management to approve such 
activities of student interns when NASA ethics officials determine that 
the activity would comply with Federal ethics laws and OGE regulations, 
to which employed student interns remain subject.
    The interim rule makes a number of other minor revisions to clarify 
the rule and streamline the approval process. The interim rule tailors 
the approval requirement to engage in outside employment with an 
employee-owned business under Sec.  6901.103(d)(3) to cases where the 
business performs or seeks to perform Federal government-related work. 
Likewise, the interim rule provides additional clarity to Sec.  
6901.103(d)(8) by describing the types of technical work that that 
would require approval.
    Revised paragraph (g) of Sec.  6901.103 streamlines the approval 
process by directing that employees must obtain approval from their 
supervisors. This revision provides efficiency by decentralizing the 
process for most career Senior Executive Service employees so that 
approval can be granted within their center, and

[[Page 7566]]

specifies the approval authority for certain other senior officials who 
may not obtain approval within their center. The revision provides that 
all requests must also undergo legal review prior to approval. For 
example, requests from Center Directors and Deputy Center Directors 
must be approved by the Associate Administrator at NASA Headquarters, 
with legal review by the Headquarters General Counsel's Office. 
Requests from NASA Chief Counsel at field centers must also be reviewed 
by the Headquarters General Counsel's Office.
    Finally, revised paragraph (g)(4) extends the maximum time for 
which approval may be granted from three to five years to provide 
further administrative efficiency in cases where the reviewing offices 
consider a longer approval period to be appropriate.

Regulatory Analysis Section

Administrative Procedure Act

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2), (b), and (d), good cause exists for 
waiving the regular notice of proposed rulemaking, opportunity for 
public comment, and 30-day delayed effective date for final rule 
amendment because this rule applies solely to agency personnel, 
organization, practice, and procedure; and relieves overly broad 
restrictions on NASA student interns performing work at their home 
academic institutions and approval requirements on certain employee 
outside activities NASA has determined are not needed. NASA has, 
however, decided to publish the amendments as an interim rule so that 
public comments may be considered prior to issuing a final rule. 
Accordingly, it is in the public interest that these revisions take 
effect as an interim rule upon the date of publication of this Federal 
Register rulemaking document, and in issuing a final rule on this 
matter NASA will consider written comments submitted by April 11, 2014.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) generally 
requires an agency to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis of any 
rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements, unless the 
agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities because this rule only pertains to NASA employees.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if the 
regulation is necessary, to select the regulatory approach that 
maximizes net benefits. This rule is not a significant regulatory 
action under section 3(f) of Executive order 12866, Regulatory Planning 
and Review, because this rule relates solely to the internal operations 
of NASA. Therefore, the Office of Management and Budget did not review 
this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does not apply 
to this rule because it does not contain any information collection 
requirement that requires approval of the Office of Management and 
Budget.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule relates to agency management or personnel, and therefore 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 
U.S.C. 801 et seq.) does not cover the interim rule.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, 
on the relationship between the national government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 
13132, Federalism, NASA has determined that the rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    For the purposes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 
U.S.C. chapter 25, subchapter II), this rule would not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments and would not result in increased 
expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more (as adjusted for inflation) in any one 
year.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 6901

    Ethical conduct.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, NASA, with the 
concurrence of OGE, amends 5 CFR part 6901 as follows:

PART 6901--SUPPLEMENTAL STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR EMPLOYEES 
OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

0
1. The authority citation for part 6901 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 7301; 5 U.S.C. App. (Ethics in Government 
Act of 1978); 51 U.S.C. 20113(a); E.O. 12674, 54 FR 15159, 3 CFR, 
1989 Comp., p. 215, as modified by E.O. 12731, 55 FR 42547, 3 CFR, 
1990 Comp., p. 306; 5 CFR 2635.105, 2635.403(a), 2635.802(a), 
2635.803.


0
2. Revise paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g) of Sec.  6901.103 
to read as follows:


Sec.  6901.103  Outside employment.

* * * * *
    (b) Definitions. Unless a term is otherwise defined in this part, 
the definitions set forth in 5 CFR part 2635 apply to terms used in 
this section. In addition, for purposes of this section:
    (1) Outside employment means any form of compensated or 
uncompensated non-Federal employment or business relationship involving 
the provision of personal services by the employee. It includes, but is 
not limited to, personal services as an officer, director, employee, 
agent, attorney, consultant, contractor, general partner, trustee, 
teacher, or speaker. It includes writing when done under an arrangement 
with another person for production or publication of the written 
product. It does not, however, include participation in the activities 
of a nonprofit charitable, religious, professional, social, fraternal, 
educational, recreational, public service, or civic organization, 
unless the organization is a prohibited source or unless such 
activities involve the provision of professional services or advice, or 
are for compensation other than reimbursement of expenses.
    (2) Profession has the meaning set forth in 5 CFR 2636.305(b)(1).
    (3) Student intern means a student employed through a student 
internship program implemented by the Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM).
    (c) Prohibited outside employment. A NASA employee, other than a 
special Government employee or a student intern, shall not engage in 
outside employment with the following:
    (1) A NASA contractor, subcontractor, or grantee in connection with 
work performed by that entity for NASA; or
    (2) A party to a Space Act agreement, Commercial Launch Act 
agreement, or other agreement to which NASA is a party pursuant to 
specific statutory authority, if the employment is in

[[Page 7567]]

connection with work performed under that agreement.
    (d) Prior approval for outside employment. A NASA employee, other 
than a special Government employee, shall request and obtain approval 
before engaging in the following outside employment activities:
    (1) Teaching, speaking, writing, or editing, unless the subject 
matter pertains to the private interests of the employee, such as a 
hobby, cultural activity, or a professional pursuit unrelated to the 
employee's official duties;
    (2) The practice of a profession or the rendering of professional 
consulting services;
    (3) The management or conduct of a business in which the employee 
or the employee's spouse has an ownership interest, if that business 
performs, or may seek to perform, work (other than routine consumer 
transactions) for the Federal Government or for a NASA contractor, 
grantee, or other party to an agreement with NASA;
    (4) Holding State or local public office, whether by election or 
appointment;
    (5) Employment with a NASA contractor, subcontractor, or grantee;
    (6) Employment with a party to a Space Act agreement, Commercial 
Launch Act agreement, or other agreement to which NASA is a party 
pursuant to specific statutory authority;
    (7) Serving as an officer, trustee, or member of a board, 
directorate, or other such body of a for profit organization or of a 
nonprofit organization that is a prohibited source; or
    (8) Employment which involves the practice of a NASA-owned 
invention or the performance of experimental, developmental, research, 
design, or engineering work that relates to the official duties of such 
employee.
    (e) Prior approval requested by employee. Even when not required by 
paragraph (d) of this section, a NASA employee may request prior 
approval using the procedures set forth in this section.
    (f) Form of request for approval. A request for approval of outside 
employment shall be in writing and shall include the following:
    (1) The employee's name and occupational title;
    (2) The nature of the employment, including a full description of 
the specific duties or services to be performed and a statement 
explaining any relationship between the outside activity and the 
official duties of the employee;
    (3) The name and address of the person or organization for which 
work will be done;
    (4) The estimated total time that will be devoted to the activity. 
If the employment is on a continuing basis, indicate the estimated 
number of hours per year; for other employment, indicate the 
anticipated beginning and ending date;
    (5) A statement as to whether the work can be performed entirely 
outside of the employee's regular duty hours and, if not, the estimated 
number of hours of absence from work that will be required;
    (6) Whether the employee will receive compensation for the outside 
activity, and, if the employee is a covered noncareer employee as 
defined by 5 CFR 2636.303, the amount of compensation to be received; 
and
    (7) A statement that the employee currently has no official duties 
involving a matter that affects the outside employer and will 
disqualify from future participation in matters that could directly 
affect the outside employer.
    (g) Approval of requests-- (1) When required to obtain approval 
prior to commencing outside employment pursuant to paragraph (d) of 
this section, a NASA employee shall receive approval from the 
employee's immediate supervisor. Additional authority to approve 
requests is as follows:
    (i) Center Directors and Deputy Center Directors shall receive 
approval by the Associate Administrator;
    (ii) Center employees shall receive approval from the Center 
Director or a person designated to act for the Center Director; and
    (iii) Headquarters employees shall receive approval from the 
employee's Official-in-Charge.
    (2) Prior to approval, the Office of the General Counsel shall 
review requests by Headquarters employees, Center Directors, Deputy 
Center Directors, and Center Chief Counsel. All other requests shall be 
reviewed by the Center Chief Counsel's office, and for Office of 
Inspector General employees, by the Counsel to the Inspector General.
    (3) Standard for approval. Approval will be granted unless a 
determination is made that the prospective outside employment is 
expected to involve conduct prohibited by statute or Federal 
regulation, including 5 CFR part 2635 and this part.
    (4) Scope of approval. Approval will be for a period not to exceed 
five years. Upon a significant change in the nature or scope of the 
outside employment or in the employee's NASA position, the employee 
shall submit a revised request for approval.
    (5) Notification of approval or disapproval. Employees will be 
notified in writing of the action taken on their requests.
    (6) Records of requests. All requests for approval will be 
maintained in the local human resources/personnel office where the 
requesting employee works, or alternatively by the local NASA legal 
office upon the determination of the Center Chief Counsel and by the 
Office of the General Counsel upon the determination of the General 
Counsel.

Charles F. Bolden Jr.,
Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Walter M. Shaub, Jr.,
Director, United States Office of Government Ethics.
[FR Doc. 2014-02212 Filed 2-7-14; 8:45 am]
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