Years ago when I was (in my own mind) an important person, one with fiduciary responsibilities and the ability to commit the United States Government's money, I also held shares of stock in the Marriott corporation (not a lot of them). One requirement was that I fill out the required Financial Disclosure Form, now administered by the Office of Government Ethics (not an oxymoron).
Dutifully, I filled out the form, as I had in year's past, and forgot about it until I received a call from the Office of the General Counsel. An earnest young lawyer asked me about my form, specifically, my listing of equities that included Marriott stock. I answered that I had truthfully completed the form and asked what the issue was.
His shaky voice began, "Sir, as you may know, Marriott is one of the largest providers of service to the federal government, and we wanted to make sure that your ownership of these shares would not constitute a conflict of interest."
"So," I said, "you're not interested in my foreign bank accounts then?" Adding, "Just kidding."
Undeterred he continued. "Sir, the Marriott Corporation is a major supplier of goods and services..."
"So, given my ten shares of stock, hardly a voting majority, should I not stay at a Marriott when on orders?"
"No sir, just be mindful of the need to maintain a wall of separation between them and you."
"Can do," I answered, not sure what I was to do and why.
But I maintained that wall since 1968 when I first stayed in a Marriott hotel while on government duty.
Message was edited by: Anadyr