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Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure (EEF)

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure (EEF) is a series of case studies that illustrates poor judgement on the part of United States federal employees. In general, an ethical failure is a bad decision that intentionally or unintentionally breaks a law, transgresses a compliance mandate or violates an organization's code of conduct.

The EEF is published by the Standards of Conduct Office of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel’s Office as a training tool. The purpose of the tool is to provoke discussion by illustrating the serious consequences of ethics violations. The goal is ultimately to motivate federal employees to contact their agency's ethics counselors when in doubt about the right way to handle a situation.

Cautionary tales in the EEF are organized by category. EEF categories include: 

  • Abuse of position 
  • Bribery
  • Conflicts of interest 
  • Credit card abuse 
  • Financial disclosure violations 
  • Fraud 
  • Gambling and other contest violations 
  • Gift violations 
  • Misuse of government resources and personnel 
  • Time and attendance violations 
  • Travel violations
This was last updated in July 2013

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