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The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for General Law (GC-56) provides legal support for non-programmatic issues other than those involving procurement and intellectual property. The office serves as program counsel for the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer, Human Capital Management, Management and Administration (with the exception of procurement matters), Economic Impact and Diversity, and the Energy Information Administration. It administers the Department's standards of conduct program for Federal employees.
Generally speaking, the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for General Law handles legal issues that are cross-cutting across program areas, including:
- Managing the Department’s standards of conduct program, including the review of financial disclosure reports filed by employees and the conduct of mandatory ethics training for employees.
- Conducting legal review as part of the processing of candidates for Presidential Appointments, non-career SES, and Schedule C positions.
- Providing legal advice on requirements and restrictions related to accepting gifts, conflicting financial interests, impartiality in performing official duties, seeking other employment, misuse of position, engaging in outside activities, engaging in political activities, and other ethics restrictions. The Office also provides advice on the restrictions that apply to the employment activities of former Federal employees
- Providing legal advice on labor relations and Federal personnel matters; and representing the Department in administrative litigation cases before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
- Providing legal review and technical support regarding the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.
- Reviewing interagency and intra-agency agreements (such as Memoranda of Understanding); Paperwork Reduction Act notices; and Departmental reorganizations.
- Providing legal support on issues involving budgetary and fiscal law; the use of Government aircraft; the application of the Federal Advisory Committee Act; and issues involving real and personal property, including review of acquisitions, and transfers and leases of real property.
- Processes Federal Tort Claims Act cases brought against the Department.