You should be aware of two exceptions to Section 205. First, an employee can act, without
compensation, as counsel for any person who is the subject of personnel, disciplinary, or loyalty
hearings. "Hearings" is the key word, the exception only covers administrative actions, not court cases.
The other exception is that an employee may represent himself or his immediate family in a claim
against the government as long as the employee did not substantially act in the matter as a government
H. 18 USC 208 - Acts Affecting a Personal Financial Interest.
1. Except as permitted by subsection (b) hereof, whoever being an officer or employee of the
executive branch of the United States Government, of any independent agency of the United
States, a Federal Reserve Bank director, officer, or employee, or of the District of Columbia,
including a special Government employee, participates personally and substantially as a
Government officer or employee, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the
rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, in a judicial or other proceeding, application,
request for a ruling in other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation,
arrest, or other particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he, his spouse, minor child, partner,
organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, partner or employee, or any
person or organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning
prospective employment, has a financial interest--
"Shall be fined not more than ,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, unless the act
was willful in which event imprisoned for not more than five years, or a fine and imprisonment."
2. Subsection (a) hereof shall not apply (1) if the officer or employee first advises the Government
official responsible for appointment to his position of the nature and circumstances of the judicial
or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim,
controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter and makes full disclosure of
the financial interest and receives in advance a written determination made by such official that
the interest is not so substantial as to be deemed likely to affect the integrity of the services
which the Government may expect from such officer or employee, or (2) if, by general rule or
regulation published in the Federal Register, the financial interest has been exempted from the
requirements of clause (1) hereof as being too remote or too inconsequential to affect the
integrity of Government officers' or employees' services.
The purpose of the statute is to make sure that there is honesty in government, by preventing
anyone whose interests are adverse to the government from promoting their interests over those of the
government. The law is aimed not only at dishonor but also at the temptation to be dishonorable.
There does not have to be actual corruption, or a loss to the government. The crime is complete when
there is a conflict, whether there is a loss or not. This