Federal Agencies Use of Volunteer Services Provided by Individuals and Organizations Under Proposed Legislation

Headnotes: 

Proposed legislation authorizing federal agencies to accept voluntary services from individuals and non-profit organizations would present potential conflicts with statutory requirements that certain activities must be conducted by government employees authorized to act on behalf of the United States.

The performance of services for federal agencies by volunteers raises especially significant concerns in terms of federal conflict of interest laws. Although voluntary service legislation may exempt volunteers from the coverage of those laws, the use of volunteers to perform government services could raise the very opportunities for self-dealing and abuse of position that the conflict of interest laws are intended to prevent.

Updated July 9, 2014