USDA: Ethics for Interns

Seal of the USDA

USDA interns are subject to the Federal Ethics Rules, and supervisors are required to ensure that they know and comply with the standards of conduct.

Here are several rules that stand out for interns:

Political Activities / The Hatch Act – Federal employees are always prohibited from engaging in partisan political fundraising activities.  Federal employees should not engage in partisan discussions or social media activities in the Federal Workplace.
5 USC §§ 7321-7326

Safeguarding Non-Public Information – Federal employees are required to protect non-public information from unauthorized disclosure.  Always check with your supervisor before providing information to non-Federal entities and never use information acquired as part of your Federal employment for personal gain or the gain of another.
5 CFR § 2635.703

Use of Government Time and Resources – Government resources and time should only be used for actions and activities that further the mission of USDA. Supervisors may allow de minimis personal use of computers and phones so long as it does not violate computer usage policies or detract from the agency mission.
5 CFR § 2635.704 and .705

Outside Activities (Official v. Personal Capacity) – When engaging in non-USDA related outside activities, you should generally do so in your personal capacity.  Be careful about presenting yourself as a USDA employee, as people may think that you speak for the agency or that your views have been endorsed by USDA.
5 CFR § 2635.702

Ethics Resources:

Staff Monitored Ethics Email Box:
OE Website:
OE Youtube Channel: (Click Here)
Ethics Mobile App: (Apple) or (Android)