About 2 million federal workers can begin free-lancing speeches and articles again.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington struck down Tuesday a ban imposed on civil service workers that kept them from accepting honorariums for speeches and payment for articles. Congress imposed the ban more than two years ago, even on topics unrelated to an employee's work.Judge Stephen F. Williams wrote the majority opinion in the 2-1 ruling that said the ban was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.
"There is no suggestion of any use of government time, word processors, paper or ink; there is no suggestion that the institutions that have paid or are likely to pay for the speeches or writings would have some relationship with the employee's agency that would make them wish to curry its favor," Williams wrote.
About 2 million federal workers below the GS-16 pay grade are affected.
Ethics guidelines and agency rules in effect before the ban still would cover federal free-lancers. The ban remains for members of Congress, their staff, federal judges and top-level White House and Cabinet employees.