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In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10930, the first step in a long series of efforts to regulate the ethical behaviour of US executive branch officials. A few years later, Lyndon B. Johnson required all senior officials to report assets and sources of non-government income to the Civil Service Commission. The reaction to Watergate opened the floodgates to more laws and rules: the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, subsequent expansions of that act in the 1980s and 1990s and sweeping executive orders by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The consequence of these aggressive efforts to scandal proof the federal government is a heavy accumulation of law and regulation administered by agencies employing hundreds of people and spending millions of dollars every year. Ethics regulation has been one of the steady growth sectors in the federal government for decades. This text explores the process that led to the contemporary state of ethics regulation in the federal executive branch. It assesses whether efforts to scandal proof the federal government have been successful, what they have cost and whether reforms should be considered.