(Dec. 11, 2020) Following up on plans announced in the wake of reported ethics failings by former staffers, the NCUA this week announced the selection of Elizabeth J. Fischmann as its first chief ethics counsel, effective Dec. 21.
Fischmann, the agency said, will oversee the NCUA’s new Office of Ethics Counsel that will certify the agency’s compliance with relevant federal ethics laws and regulations, promote accountability and ethical conduct, and help ensure the success of the NCUA’s ethics programs, including programs designed to prevent harassment, discrimination, and misconduct in the workplace. She will report directly to the NCUA Board and will be supervised by the NCUA chairman.
Currently, Fischmann serves as the associate general counsel for ethics and designated agency ethics official for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she administers and supervises the HHS-wide ethics program. She has also served as an associate counsel at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and Deputy Counsel for the U.S. Department of the Navy, the NCUA said. Fischmann earned a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, according to NCUA; she’s a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland Bars.
NCUA announced plans earlier this year to establish the ethics counsel office in April, about six weeks after a report was made public by the NCUA Office of Inspector General (OIG) substantiated allegations by then-Deputy General Counsel Lara Daly-Sims that she and then-General Counsel Mike McKenna drank alcohol and went to strip clubs during work hours.