One of the new shows I have watched and enjoyed recently is “Dopesick,” a limited series about the opioid crisis and how the drug was sold by its manufacturer. The series details a number of situations where individuals working for branches of the federal government end up working for the manufacturer, often at jobs that paid significantly more than they were making for the government.
While I doubt that the guidance that was released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday had little to do with the TV show, it nonetheless was an attempt by the Bureau to illustrate its commitment to ethics and integrity by reminding employees to report any “suspicious communications and activity” by former employees who might be seeking to curry favor or influence investigations behind the scenes.
In fact, for those thinking that having a former employee on their side might help, it may just do the opposite.
In announcing the guidance, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra announced that anyone using a former employee of the Bureau will be subject to “heightened scrutiny” to ensure the Bureau is meeting its commitment to “the highest standards of ethics and integrity.”
Among the warnings that were included in the guidance were:
- Protect supervisory, confidential, and non-public Bureau information
- No preferential treatment for former federal employees
- Report potentially unlawful communications by the former federal employee
- Report any suspected disclosure of non-public or confidential Bureau information by the former employee
- Report any communication with the Bureau during former employees’ first year
“This guidance is the first step of several that the CFPB will undertake to further strengthen the Bureau’s Ethics Program, demonstrate the Bureau’s commitment to a standard of exemplary integrity, and ensure that our work serves the American people first and foremost,” wrote Chopra in a blog post announcing the release of the guidance.