Representation to Government Agencies and Courts

Executive branch employees are subject to criminal statutes that prohibit the representation of private interests before the Government. One of these laws prohibits an employee from prosecuting a claim against the United States or representing a private party before the Government in connection with a particular matter in which the United States is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. This prohibition applies whether or not the employee receives compensation for the representation.

There are exceptions that would allow an employee to represent with or without compensation:

  • The employee (self-representation)
  • A parent, spouse or child of the employee.
  • A person or estate that the employee serves as a guardian, executor, administrator, trustee or personal fiduciary.

The matter involved may not be one in which the employee participated personally and substantially or which was the subject of the employee's official responsibility. Also the employee must obtain approval for the activity from the employee's appointing official.

An employee may represent employee nonprofit organizations (such as child care centers, recreational associations, professional organizations, credit unions or other similar groups) before the U.S. Government under certain circumstances. The employee may not be compensated. And the employee may not represent an employee group in claims against the Government, in seeking grants, contracts or cash from the Government, or in litigation where the group is a party.

An employee may take on uncompensated representation of a person who is the subject of disciplinary, loyalty, or personnel administration proceedings.

Another law governing representational activity prohibits an employee from accepting compensation for certain representational services before the Government whether or not those services were provided by the employee personally or by some other person. Again, there are exceptions to this law that would allow for the representation of a parent, spouse, child or person served in a fiduciary capacity.

18 U.S.C. § § 205, 203.




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