As Chief Counsel for Economic Affairs, the incumbent is responsible for providing legal advice to the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and to the offices reporting to the Under Secretary in her capacity as head of the of the Economics and Statistics Administration: the Chief Economist, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The position is in the Office of the General Counsel, Office of the Chief Counsel for Economic Affairs.

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The incumbent is a key advisor to the Economic Affairs (EA) management team, working closely with the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, the Chief Economist, and the Directors of the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to identify and address important legal issues surrounding the development of national statistical and economic policy and preparation for the 2020 Decennial Census. The incumbent is responsible for all EA legal matters, including planning, carrying out, and directing the performance of legal work as described below:

Advises the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and other senior officials of EA on all legal and interrelated legal and policy aspects of matters arising out of their respective areas of operation. The incumbent is required to be informed on all laws and regulations affecting the programs of the Department in the field of economic and statistical affairs to enable him/her to participate with and advise the aforementioned officials in policy formulations and program determinations.

Provides advice and assistance to the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, the General Counsel and other high level officials within and outside of the Department of Commerce, in connection with the development and implementation of recommendations to: 1) expand the use of administrative records to conduct the 2020 Census; 2) expand the electronic availability of census data; and 3) eliminate legislative barriers to the exchange of business data among Federal agencies in order to improve the quality of data and reduce the reporting burden for American businesses.
Provides legal interpretations of existing or proposed regulations of other Federal agencies that affect EA; comments, briefs, or petitions relating to current or proposed regulatory activities of other Federal agencies; and recommended interpretations for review and acceptance by appropriate legal authority.

Reviews proposed Executive Orders and proclamations affecting EA.

Provides assistance and counsel to the Under Secretary and other EA officials, where appropriate, in the investigation of any indicated violation of statutes, regulations, or other directives.

Prepares or reviews various legal documents as required in connection with the Department’s economic and statistical affairs activities such as pleadings, briefs, and other legal documents necessary in litigation involving the Department of Commerce, or requested by another agency for use in litigation, and papers relating to matters on which the opinion or advice of the Comptroller General or Attorney General is desired. In particular, the incumbent develops strategy in coordination with senior policy officials at the Department for all programmatic litigation involving the decennial census, the largest peacetime operation conducted by the Federal Government. Such litigation is significant and national in its scope. In addition, the extraordinary increase in the temporary workforce (hundreds of thousands for a decennial census) results in a myriad of programmatic legal issues that must be dealt with in an expedited fashion.

Prepares, examines, and provides determination for legal form, effect, and compliance with Executive Order 12291 all public orders, rules and regulations, including Federal Register notices, issued by the Department of Commerce in the fields of economic and statistical affairs; and all legal instruments such as contracts and grants, cooperative agreements, leases or licenses entered into by the EA in these areas, in coordination with other appropriate OGC offices, including the Offices of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration and Transactions and the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulation.

In cooperation with the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulation, prepares and reviews EA’s position on legislation affecting programs in the fields of economic and statistical affairs. Reviews testimony and supporting materials for EA officials’ appearances before Congressional committees.

Serves on inter-Departmental and inter-governmental groups with respect to legal aspects of economic and statistical affairs, including committees for major efforts such as acquisition planning for the decennial census.

Advises EA officials on the various specific statutes governing the confidentiality and availability of information gathered and used by EA and its component bureaus and, in coordination with the Assistant General Counsel for Employment, Litigation, and Information, assists in the determination of availability of documents pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Assists EA officials, as requested, in coordinating statistical policy matters with statistical policy officials within the Office of Management and Budget to ensure compliance with all relevant laws, directives, and guidelines.

Travel Required

25% or less – Occasional travel nationally and internationally may be required.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


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