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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Unmodified Qualified Trust Model Certificates and Model Trust Documents

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Office of Government Ethics is publishing this second round notice and requesting comment on the twelve executive branch OGE model certificates and model documents for qualified trusts. OGE intends to submit these forms for extension of approval (up to three years) by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. OGE is proposing no changes to these forms at this time. As in the past, OGE will notify filers of an update to the privacy information contained in the existing forms, and will post a notification thereof on its Web site.

DATES:

Written comments by the public and the agencies on this proposed extension are invited and must be received by December 31, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Office of Government Ethics, by any of the following two methods within 30 days from the date of publication in this Federal Register:

FAX: 202-395-6974, Attn: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Office of Government Ethics;

E-mail: smar@omb.eop.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul D. Ledvina, Records Officer, Office of Government Ethics; Telephone: 202-482-9247; TTY: 800-877-8339; FAX: 202-482-9237; E-mail: pdledvin@oge.gov. The model certificates of independence and compliance for qualified trusts are codified in appendixes A, B, and C to 5 CFR part 2634. Copies of the model trust documents are available as one set of OGE publications through the Ethics Documents section of OGE's Web site at http://www.usoge.gov. Copies of the qualified trust model certificates and the model trust documents may also be obtained, without charge, by contacting Mr. Ledvina.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Office of Government Ethics intends to submit, shortly after this second round notice, all twelve qualified trust model certificates and model documents described below (all of which are included under OMB paperwork control number 3209-0007) for a three-year extension of approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). OGE is proposing no changes to the twelve qualified trust certificates and model trust documents at this time.

Privacy Act Statement

In 2003, OGE updated the OGE/GOVT-1 system of records notice (covering SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Reports and other name-retrieved ethics program records), including the addition of the three new routine uses and the modification of one of the existing routine uses. See 68 FR 3097-3109 (January 22, 2003), as corrected at 68 FR 24744 (May 8, 2003). As a result, the Privacy Act Statement on each of the qualified trust model certificates and documents, which includes paraphrases of the routine uses, is affected. OGE has not incorporated this update into the qualified trust model certificates and documents at this time, since a more thorough revision of these information collections is planned within the next three years. Upon distribution of the trust model certificates and documents, OGE will continue to inform users of the update to the Privacy Act Statement. OGE will also post a notification thereof on its Web site to accompany the model certificates and documents.

Model Trust Form Users

OGE is the supervising ethics office for the executive branch of the Federal Government under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (Ethics Act). Presidential nominees to executive branch positions subject to Senate confirmation and any other executive branch officials may seek OGE approval for Ethics Act qualified blind or diversified trusts as one means to be used to avoid conflicts of interest.

OGE is the sponsoring agency for the model certificates and model trust documents for qualified blind and diversified trusts of executive branch officials set up under section 102(f) of the Ethics Act, 5 U.S.C. app. § 102(f), and OGE's implementing financial disclosure regulations at subpart D of 5 CFR part 2634. The various model certificates and model trust documents are utilized by OGE and settlors, trustees and other fiduciaries in establishing and administering these qualified trusts.Start Printed Page 62781

Model Trust Forms and Documents

There are two categories of information collection requirements that OGE plans to submit for renewed paperwork approval, each with its own related reporting model trust certificates or model trust documents which are subject to paperwork review and approval by OMB. The OGE regulatory citations for these two categories, together with identification of the forms used for their implementation, are as follows:

i. Qualified trust certifications5 CFR 2634.401(d)(2), 2634.403(b)(11), 2634.404(c)(11), 2634.406(a)(3) and (b), 2634.408, 2634.409 and appendixes A and B to part 2634 (the two implementing forms, the Certificate of Independence and Certificate of Compliance, are codified respectively in the cited appendixes; see also the Privacy Act and Paperwork Reduction Act notices thereto in appendix C); and

ii. Qualified trust communications and model provisions and agreements5 CFR 2634.401(c)(1)(i) and (d)(2), 2634.403(b), 2634.404(c), 2634.408 and 2634.409 (the ten implementing forms are the: (A) Blind Trust Communications (Expedited Procedure for Securing Approval of Proposed Communications); (B) Model Qualified Blind Trust Provisions; (C) Model Qualified Diversified Trust Provisions; (D) Model Qualified Blind Trust Provisions (For Use in the Case of Multiple Fiduciaries); (E) Model Qualified Blind Trust Provisions (For Use in the Case of an Irrevocable Pre-Existing Trust); (F) Model Qualified Diversified Trust Provisions (Hybrid Version); (G) Model Qualified Diversified Trust Provisions (For Use in the Case of Multiple Fiduciaries); (H) Model Qualified Diversified Trust Provisions (For Use in the Case of an Irrevocable Pre-Existing Trust); (I) Model Confidentiality Agreement Provisions (For Use in the Case of a Privately Owned Business); and (J) Model Confidentiality Agreement Provisions (For Use in the Case of Investment Management Activities). As noted above, blank copies of each of these model documents are posted on OGE's Web site.

The communications formats and the confidentiality agreements (items ii. (A), (I) and (J) above), once completed, would not be available to the public because they contain sensitive, confidential information. All the other completed model trust certificates and model trust documents (except for any trust provisions that relate to the testamentary disposition of trust assets) are retained and made publicly available based upon a proper Ethics Act request (by filling out an OGE Form 201 access form) until the periods of retention of all other reports (usually the SF 278 Public Financial Disclosure Reports) of the individual establishing the trust have lapsed (generally six years after the filing of the last other report). See 5 CFR 2634.603(g)(2) of OGE's executive branch disclosure regulation.

Reporting Burden

The Office of Government Ethics administers the qualified trust program for the executive branch. At the present time, there are no active filers using the trust model certificates and documents, in part reflecting the routine departure of high-level filers from the previous Administration. However, OGE intends to submit to OMB a request for extension of approval for two reasons. First, under OMB's implementing regulations for the Paperwork Reduction Act, at 5 CFR 1320.3(c)(4)(i), any recordkeeping, reporting or disclosure requirement contained in a sponsoring agency rule of general applicability is deemed to meet the minimum threshold of ten or more persons. Second, OGE does anticipate possible limited use of these forms during the forthcoming three-year period 2010-2012. Therefore, the estimated burden figures, representing branchwide implementation of the forms, will remain the same as previously reported by OGE in its prior first and second round paperwork renewal notice for the trust forms in 2007 (72 FR 27132-27134 (May 14, 2007) and 72 FR 46489-46490 (August 20, 2007)). The estimate is based on the amount of time imposed on a trust administrator or private representative.

i. Trust Certificates:

A. Certificate of Independence: total filers (executive branch): 5; private citizen filers (100%): 5; private citizen burden hours (20 minutes/certificate): 2.

B. Certificate of Compliance: total filers (executive branch): 10; private citizen filers (100%): 10; private citizen burden hours (20 minutes/certificate): 3; and

ii. Model Qualified Trust Documents:

A. Blind Trust Communications: total users (executive branch): 5; private citizen users (100%): 5; communications documents (private citizens): 25 (based on an average of five communications per user, per year); private citizen burden hours (20 minutes/communication): 8.

B. Model Qualified Blind Trust: total users (executive branch): 2; private citizen users (100%): 2; private citizen burden hours (100 hours/model): 200.

C. Model Qualified Diversified Trust: total users (executive branch): 1; private citizen users (100%): 1; private citizen burden hours (100 hours/model): 100.

D.-H. Of the five remaining model qualified trust documents: total users (executive branch): 2; private citizen users (100%): 2; private citizen burden hours (100 hours/model): 200.

I.-J. Of the two model confidentiality agreements: total users (executive branch): 1; private citizen users (100%): 1; private citizen burden hours (50 hours/agreement): 50.

However, the total annual reporting hour burden on filers themselves is zero and not the 563 hours estimated above because OGE's estimating methodology reflects the fact that all respondents hire private trust administrators or other private representatives to set up and maintain the qualified blind and diversified trusts. Respondents themselves, typically incoming private citizen Presidential nominees, therefore incur no hour burden. The estimated total annual cost burden to respondents resulting from the collection of information is $1,000,000. Those who use the model documents for guidance are private trust administrators or other private representatives hired to set up and maintain the qualified blind and diversified trusts of executive branch officials who seek to establish qualified trusts. The cost burden figure is based primarily on OGE's knowledge of the typical trust administrator fee structure (an average of 1 percent of total assets) and OGE's experience with administration of the qualified trust program. The $1,000,000 annual cost figure is based on OGE's estimate of an average of five active trusts anticipated to be under administration for each of the next two years with combined total assets of $100,000,000. However, OGE notes that the $1,000,000 figure is a cost estimate for the overall administration of the trusts, only a portion of which relates to information collection and reporting. For want of a precise way to break out the costs directly associated with information collection, OGE is continuing to report to OMB the full $1,000,000 estimate for paperwork clearance purposes.

Consideration of Comments

On September 17, 2009, OGE published a first round notice of its intent to request paperwork clearance for the proposed unmodified qualified trust certificates and model trust documents. See 74 FR 47799-47801. OGE received only one response to that notice, which was critical of the Government, and provided no specific Start Printed Page 62782comment about the proposed renewal of these documents.

In this second notice, public comment is again invited on the qualified trust certificates and model trust documents, and underlying regulatory provisions, as set forth in this notice, including specific views on the need for and practical utility of this set of collections of information, the accuracy of OGE's burden estimate, the potential for enhancement of quality, utility and clarity of the information collected, and the minimization of burden (including the use of information technology).

The Office of Government Ethics, in consultation with OMB, will consider all comments received, which will become a matter of public record.

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Approved: November 20, 2009.

Robert I. Cusick,

Director, Office of Government Ethics.

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[FR Doc. E9-28782 Filed 11-30-09; 8:45 am]

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