Application of 18 U.S.C. § 205 to Communications Between the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys and the Department of Justice: Memorandum for the Attorney General [November 7, 1994]   [open pdf - 47KB]

"You have asked for our opinion as to whether and how the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 205 apply to communications between employee members of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA) and officials of the Department. After consulting with the Office of Government Ethics, whose views on this question were provided to us in an advisory opinion dated September 28, we have concluded that while discussions of broad policy options are not 'covered matters' within the meaning of the statute, several of the issues NAAUSA may wish to present constitute 'covered matters' under § 205. Accordingly, that section's prohibition on representational activities would bar a federal employee from representing NAAUSA's position on those matters before department officials. Section 205 is not a barrier to other types of communications between the Department and NAAUSA or similar associations. The Department is in no way precluded from dealing with individual or groups of AUSAs [Assistant U.S. Attorneys] in their official capacities on matters affecting AUSAs, even if those AUSAs are coincidentally members of NAAUSA. Nor does § 205 place any restrictions on representatives who are not current federal employees, such as NAAUSA's executive director or any former AUSAs no longer employed by the government. Finally, discussions of broad policy directed towards a large and diverse group of persons would be permissible under the statute."

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