© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions
A regional collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

No GoFundMe Campaigns For Shutdown Employees, Says Federal Ethics Office

A sign during the five-week government shutdown.
Matt Guilhem
Boise State Public Radio
A sign during the five-week government shutdown.

The Office of Government Ethics just released guidelines for federal employees during government shutdowns, about three weeks after the government reopened.

 Click 'play' to hear the audio version of this story.

During the five-week partial shutdown, thousands of federal employees took to GoFundMe or other online platforms to fundraise for groceries, day care costs or mortgage payments. According to the memo, that’s a no-no.

“GoFundMe opens up to anyone,” says Jeff Ruch with the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “You could have a government contract employee, coworker, a subordinate give a contribution. From an ethics point of view it’s inherently troublesome, but on the other hand it’s not clear how the agency would police that.” 

The memo also advises that employees considering work during a shutdown consult a government ethics official about the position.

Federal workers generally aren’t supposed to accept work in the same scope as their regular employment. That can make it difficult for workers to find meaningful paid work during a furlough. 

“If you’re a specialist you’re reduced to working at Starbucks or dog walking, or something,” says Ruch. “Otherwise, what would you do?” 

The guidelines follow the longest government shutdown in history, which furloughed about 800,000 workers. 

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho,  KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.
Amanda Peacher
Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.
Related Content