The Supreme Court, in a narrow ruling, has struck down the so-called honoraria ban that prevented federal employees from accepting money for writing or speaking engagements outside of work. The new ruling pertains only to employees at the GS-16 level and below and permits them to accept honoraria only for outside activities that are unrelated to their work. Conflict-of-interest rules still prevent employees from accepting outside money from organizations whom they regulate or work with as part of their jobs. Michelle Russell-Einhorn, Assistant Special Counsel for Ethics for NIH, notes that the honoria ban remains in place for researchers in the Senior Executive Service. Russell-Einhorn adds that although the new policy forbids NIH scientists from receiving honoraria for discussing their current research, they can receive honoraria for articles or speaking engagements pertaining to their "general expertise."
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