This program will both examine the existing ethical requirements governing federal contractors and consider some of the efforts underway to impose additional restrictions on contractors and their employees. It will begin by giving an overview of the rise of government contracting in the last several decades and the increasingly critical role played by contractors. It will then draw a contrast between the extensive ethical rules governing federal employees and the relatively sparse rules governing federal contractors.

Though there are legitimate reasons for this disparity, as contractors generally perform different functions than civil servants and require additional flexibility, the gap has led to efforts to ramp up ethical restrictions on federal contractors in recent years. The presentation will conclude by exploring several of these efforts, including pending rules that would govern personal conflicts of interest and access to sensitive governmental information.