Conflicts of Interest

June 29, 1960

Report Outline
Ethical Standards in Government
Privileged Position of Certain Groups
Means to Curb Conflicts of Interest
Hardship Cases Under Conflict Rules

Ethical Standards in Government

Interest Conflicts Questiion in Next Congress

President eisenhower, speaking at Notre Dame commencement exercises on June 5, stressed the need “to review carefully the conflict-of-interest restrictions which have often prohibited the entry into government of men and women who had much to offer their country.” The President was referring in particular to restrictions that sometimes force top business leaders to decline proffers of appointment to high posts in the federal establishment, because they could not serve without divesting themselves of security holdings at too great a sacrifice.

Other aspects of the conflict-of-interest problem, applying to federal employees in general or to the heads and workers of particular agencies, have received the close attention of committees of Congress during the session now drawing to a close. A House Judiciary subcommittee which considered the general problem was not able to agree on terms of new legislation, but its chairman, Rep. Emanuel Celler (D N.Y.), observed on June 12 that the question was of primary importance and he voiced the hope that an effective measure would be enacted by the next Congress. The House Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill, June 22, aimed to enforce new ethical standards in the government's regulatory agencies. Action on the bill before adjournment is hardly likely, but it no doubt will be reintroduced and pressed for passage next year.

Resignations of Certain Eisenhower Appointees

Attention has been drawn to the conflict-of-interest question by investigations into cases in which public officials either have acted without regard for the proprieties of public office or have given the appearance of allowing private considerations to influence their decisions on public matters. The vigor with which Democratic-controlled committees of Congress have investigated such cases during the Eisenhower administration represents in part a reaction to the charges of “corruption” leveled against the Truman administration by Republican campaigners in the 1952 presidential election contest.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in Government
Jan. 31, 2014  Whistleblowers
Feb. 18, 2011  Lies and Politics
Apr. 30, 2010  Gridlock in Washington
Jun. 22, 2007  Prosecutors and Politics
Jun. 16, 2006  Pork Barrel Politics
May 07, 1999  Independent Counsels Re-Examined
Feb. 21, 1997  Independent Counsels
May 27, 1994  Political Scandals
Apr. 06, 1979  Assassinations Investigation
Dec. 05, 1973  Presidential Impeachment
May 16, 1973  Ethics in Government
May 10, 1961  Secret Societies and Political Action
Jun. 29, 1960  Conflicts of Interest
Oct. 26, 1955  Businessmen in Government
Apr. 07, 1954  Fair Investigations
Apr. 25, 1952  Congressional Immunity
Dec. 05, 1951  Ethics in Government
Jan. 28, 1948  Individual Rights and Congressional Investigations
Jul. 02, 1934  Political Reform and Federal Patronage
Mar. 07, 1924  Congressional Extravagance and the Budget
Nov. 12, 1923  Issues Developed in the Teapot Dome Inquiry
Civil Service
Congress Actions