Vetting & Government Ethics

Steptoe’s vetting and government ethics practice provides extensive experience in guiding individuals through all stages of the appointment and confirmation process.  Drawing upon both private and public sector experience, Steptoe brings a comprehensive approach to advising executive and judicial branch appointees and nominees.  Our team has represented individuals in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including the current administration, and has worked with White House Counsel’s Office, the Office of Government Ethics, and various US Senate Committees. 

With each administration, the appointments process has become more complicated, with the introduction of new laws and administrative guidance, creating hurdles to government service.  These hurdles are particularly acute for individuals with complex investment portfolios or customized employee benefit arrangements with their private employers.  Steptoe’s lawyers and professionals have decades of experience in counseling individuals (and their employers) on the tax, financial, executive compensation, national security, and government ethics aspects of the process.  In assisting clients, Steptoe’s team has an eye on the areas that could prove to be sensitive for those seeking to serve.  

Our team negotiates the terms of financial disclosure, divestiture, waivers and recusals and we have helped to develop some of the standard arrangements that are used to minimize the costs imposed by federal conflict of interest requirements.  We are familiar with the various forms and questionnaires that must be completed by appointees and nominees and the common – and sometimes not so common – responses required for security clearance and Senate committee vetting.  We have counseled individuals in preparing for their committee hearings and helped craft strategies to ensure a successful outcome.  We also have significant experience in the Senate confirmation process, including as drafters of certain recent changes to the law and Senate Rules relating to the confirmation of certain Presidential Appointees.

We also provide support following an appointment or confirmation, including advice related to financial disclosure under the STOCK Act, restrictions on activities and investments while in government service, and post-employment (“revolving door”) restrictions.