（It was passed on September 29, 1999, and enacted on October 26, 1999.）
Object and Subjects
ARTICLE 1 — This law on ethics in the public service establishes a set of duties, prohibitions, and incompatibilities applicable without exception to all persons who perform public functions at all levels and hierarchies, permanently or temporarily, by popular election, direct appointment, by competition or any other legal means, including all government magistrates, officials, and employees.
Public function means any temporary or permanent, paid or honorary activity, performed by a natural person in the name of the State or in the service of the State or its institutions, at any level of its hierarchy.
Duties and Standards of ethical conduct
ARTICLE 2 — All subjects included in this law must comply with all duties and standards of ethical conduct:
a) To strictly comply with and to make others comply with the provisions of the National Constitution, the laws, and regulations that may be passed and to defend the republican and democratic system of government;
b) To perform duties abiding by and respecting the principles and ethical standards established by this law: honesty, probity, rectitude, good faith and republican austerity;
c) To safeguard the interests of the State in all their acts aimed at the satisfaction of general welfare, and consequently granting a privilege to public interest over individual interest;
d) To refrain from receiving any undue personal benefit in connection with the performance, delay or omission of any act inherent to their functions, and to refrain from imposing special conditions which may lead to it;
e) To justify their acts, and to show the greatest transparency in all decisions adopted without restricting information, unless a law or the public interest clearly require that;
f) To protect and preserve the property of the State and to employ its assets only for authorized purposes. To refrain from using the information obtained during the performance of public duties to carry out activities not related to their public functions or allowing the use of such information for the benefit of private interests;
g) To refrain from using the State’s buildings and services for their individual benefit or for the benefit of their relatives, close friends or any other person not linked to the public function, to back up or promote some product, service or business;
h) To comply with the principles of publicity, equity, concurrence and reasonability in public procurements acts;
i) To refrain from participating in any act that may lead to disqualification pursuant to the law of civil procedure;
ARTICLE 3 — All subjects covered by article 1 shall conduct according to public ethics rules during the exercise of their functions as requisite for continuance of their posts. Otherwise, they shall be punished or fired in accordance with the procedures established in the regulations governing their specific office.
Regime of Financial Disclosure Statements
ARTICLE 4 — All the persons mentioned in article 5 of this law, must submit a comprehensive financial disclosure statement within thirty business days as from the day of assuming their posts.
Besides, they must annually update the information included in such statement and submit one last statement within thirty business days after the cease in their posts.
ARTICLE 5º — The following persons are obliged to submit the financial disclosure statement:
a) The president and Vice President of the Nation;
b) Senators and representatives of the Nation;
c) Judges of the National Judicial Branch;
d) Magistrates of the Attorney’s General Office of the Nation;
e) The Ombudsman of the Nation and his deputies;
f) The chief of the ministerial cabinet, ministers, secretaries, and deputy secretaries of the Executive Branch;
g) Federal intervener;
h) The general syndic of the Nation, and deputies syndics of the General Office of the Syndic of the Nation, the president and general auditors of the General Auditing Office of the Nation, hierarchical authorities of regulatory entities and the other bodies that belong to the systems of control of the national public sector, and the members of jurisdictional administrative entities;
i) Members of the Magistrates’ Council and the Impeachment Jury;
j) Ambassadors, consuls and officers with a permanent official mission abroad;
k) Active members of the Armed Forces, Argentine Federal Police, National Gendarmerie, Argentine Maritime Authority and the Federal Penitentiary Service, with hierarchy not lower than colonel or an equivalent;
l) Rectors, deans and secretaries of national universities;
m) Officers or employees with a rank or function not lower than that of a director or equivalent, performing functions within the Argentine Public Administration, whether it centralized or decentralized, autarchic entities, banks and financial entities of the official system, social services managed by the State, and staff with similar rank or function, designated at the proposal of the State in partially government-owned corporations, and corporations with participation of the State and other entities within the public sector;
n) Officers collaborating with federal interveners, with a rank or function not lower than that of a director or equivalent;
o) Members of the entities mentioned in subparagraph h) of this article, with a rank not lower that that of a director or equivalent;
p) Any public official or employee entrusted with the granting of administrative authorizations for the performing of any activity, as well as any other public official or employee entrusted with controlling the functioning of said activities or exercising any other control by virtue of the power of police;
q) Officials belonging to entities in charge of controlling privatized public services, with a rank not lower that that of a director;
r) Staff working within the Legislative Branch, with a rank not lower than that of a director;
s) Staff performing services within the Argentine Judiciary and the General Attorney’s Office of the Nation, with a rank not lower than that of a secretary or equivalent;
t) Any public official or employee who forms part of bidding award commissions, or commissions of acquisition or reception of goods, or who participates in the decision-making process of biddings or acquisitions;
u) Any public official in charge of administrating public or private assets, or controlling or supervising public income of whatever nature;
v) Directors and administrators of the entities subject to the external control of the National Congress, in accordance with article 120 of law 24156, in all cases in which the National Commission on Public Ethics so requires;
ARTICLE 6 — The financial disclosure statement shall include a detailed list of all the assets that are inside the country or abroad, owned by the public official, his spouse, assets belonging to the community property, the assets of the person with whom he has a de facto matrimonial relation, the assets of such de facto relation, and the assets of his minor child. The list shall include especially the following items:
a) Real Estate property and the improvements made on such property;
b) Personal property subject to registration;
c) Other personal property, determining their collective value. If any item of such personal property exceeds the amount of five thousand pesos (AR$5000) the item must be individualized;
d) Capital invested in bonds, shares and other securities whether they be marketable or not on the stock Exchange, or in the running of personal or company’s business;
e) Bank deposits amounts, or amounts deposited in other financial entities, whether they be savings or provisional deposits, national or foreign, cash in national or foreign currency. In a closed wax-sealed envelop the official must indicate the name of the bank or the pertinent financial entity and the numbers of checking accounts, saving accounts, security boxes and credit cards and their respective extensions, if any. Such envelop shall be kept confidential and it can only be delivered upon the request of the authority mentioned in article 19 or the judicial authority;
f) Credits and mortgage debts, pledge debts or common debts;
g) Annual income and expenses derived from work under an employment contract or from the exercise of professional or independent activities;
h) Annual income and expenses derived from revenue or social security systems. If the person who must submit the financial disclosure statement is registered under the income tax regime or the regime of personal property not incorporated to the economic process, such official must also present the last presentation submitted before the Tax Authority;
i) In subparagraphs a) b) c) and d) of this article, the official must also include the value and date of acquisition, and the origin of the funds used for such acquisitions.
ARTICLE 7 — Financial disclosure statements shall be deposited with the pertinent authorities which shall send within thirty days, an authenticated copy of the statements to the National Commission on Public Ethics. If the copies are not sent within the established term without a justified cause, it shall be considered a serious misconduct by the official responsible in the area.
ARTICLE 8 — Those who have not submitted their financial disclosure statements within the established term shall be duly notified by the authority in charge of their reception, to submit the statements within fifteen days. Non compliance with such demand shall constitute serious misconduct and shall bring about the application of the pertinent disciplinary punishment notwithstanding the application of other punishments as appropriate.
ARTICLE 9 — Those who have not submitted their financial disclosure statements upon ceasing their posts and within the established term, shall be duly notified to do so within a term of fifteen days.
If the notified Official fails to submit the statement, he may not exercise public functions again, notwithstanding other applicable sanctions that may be imposed against him.
ARTICLE 10. — The list of financial disclosure statements of the persons mentioned in article 5 shall be published within ninety days in the Official Bulletin.
Any person shall, at any time, have access to and obtain a copy of the financial disclosure statements duly submitted before the pertinent authority which has registered and deposited them, prior submission of a written request containing the following: a) First name and last name, identity document number, occupation and address of requesting party; b) First name and last name, identity document number, occupation and address of any other person or entity on whose behalf the statement is requested; c) The purpose of the request and use of the petition; and d) The statement by which the requesting person represents to have knowledge of the provisions set forth by article 11 of this law regarding the unlawful use of the financial disclosure statement and the punishment applicable should the requesting party make an unlawful use of such statement.
All submitted petitions shall be available to the public during the period in which financial disclosures statements are kept.
ARTICLE 11. — The persons who have access to financial disclosure statements by means of the procedure provided by the law must not use them for:
a) Any unlawful purpose;
b) Any commercial purpose, except for the means of communication and news for diffusion to the public in general;
c) determining or establishing credit qualification of any individual; or
d) Effecting, directly or indirectly, a request of money for political, beneficial reasons or otherwise.
Any unlawful use of a financial disclosure statement shall be punished with a fine from five hundred pesos (AR$500) up to ten thousand pesos (AR$10000). The entity empowered to impose this penalty shall exclusively be the National Commission on Public Ethics created under this law. All applicable punishments for violations of any of the provisions set forth by this article may be appealed before first instance courts in federal administrative matters.
The regulations shall establish a procedure for the imposing of punishment ensuring the right of defense of the persons being investigated for the offense established by this article.
ARTICLE 12. — Those officials who do not assume public functions through general election shall include their employment history in the financial disclosure statement solely to facilitate better control over possible conflicts of interest that may arise.
Incompatibilities and Conflicts of Interests
ARTICLE 13. — It is incompatible with the exercise of public functions:
a) to direct, manage, represent, represent on trial, advice or, in any way, provide services to whom requests or obtains a concession, benefit or license to operate a public service, or is a State supplier, or performs State regulated activities, whenever the public position has a direct functional jurisdiction with respect to the hiring, obtaining, requesting or control of said concessions, benefits or license;
b) to be a supplier by him/herself or on behalf of third parties in every public agency in which he/she performs public duties
ARTICLE 14. — Those public officials who have had a decisive participation in the planning, development and concretion of privatizations or concessions of companies or public services shall be banned from serving in the entities or regulatory agencies of such companies or services.
ARTICLE 15. — The prohibitions and incompatibilities set forth in the previous articles shall be valid, to all effect, even though the causes for such prohibitions or incompatibilities precede or follow the entrance or exit of the public official, during one year immediately before or after, respectively.
ARTICLE 16. — These incompatibilities shall be applied notwithstanding those already established by the specific regimen of each function.
ARTICLE 17. — If the acts of the persons covered by article 1 fall within the scope of articles 13, 14 and 15, those acts shall be absolutely null notwithstanding the rights of bona fide third parties. If an administrative act is concerned, this shall be absolutely null in accordance with article 14 of law 19549.
Hiring entities or concessionaries shall be held jointly and severally liable for the damage that these acts may cause to the State.
System of gifts to public officials
ARTICLE 18. — Public officials shall not receive gifts, presents or donations, whether they be things, services or goods, owing to or during the exercise of their functions. If the gifts are given by courtesy or by diplomatic custom, the authority of application shall determine how they should be registered and in which cases and how they should be incorporated into the property of the State for health, social action and educational purposes or into the historical-cultural patrimony, if appropriate.
ARTICLE 19. — In order to investigate alleged unjustified enrichments within the public function and the violations of the duties and the financial disclosure statement regime and incompatibilities set forth by this law, the National Commission on Public Ethics shall conduct a process of summary prevention.
ARTICLE 20. — The investigation may be promoted at the initiative of the Commission, at the request of superior authorities or by complaint.
The regulations shall determine the procedure with due regard to the right of defense.
The person subject to investigation shall be informed of the object of the investigation and shall have a right to produce all the evidence he deems appropriate to exercise his right of defense.
ARTICLE 21. — If during a process of summary prevention the presumption that a crime has been committed arises, the Commission shall present the case before the competent judge or prosecutor and all the evidence and documents that have been collected.
The summary prevention process is not a judicial prerequisite for a criminal prosecution.
ARTICLE 22. — The regulations governing the summary prevention process established in this chapter shall be drafted within ninety days as of the date of publication of this law.
National Commission on Public Ethics
ARTICLE 23. — Be the National Commission on Public Ethics hereby established within the sphere of the Congress of the Nation, which shall operate as an independent body and have functional independence, to guarantee compliance with the provisions of this law.
ARTICLE 24. — The Commission shall be composed of eleven members, citizens with recognized credentials and public prestige, who may not belong to the body that appoints them and shall serve for four years, with the possibility of being reappointed for one more term.
They shall be appointed in the following manner:
a) One by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation;
b) One by the Executive Branch;
c) One by the Attorney General’s Office;
d) Eight citizens selected by joint resolution of both chambers of Congress by two thirds of the members present, two of whom shall be: one recommended by the Ombudsman and the other by the Auditor General.
ARTICLE 25. — The Commission shall perform the following functions:
a) to receive complaints from individuals or legally registered intermediate bodies concerning unethical conduct of government officials or agents. The complaint must be accompanied by documentation and any other evidentiary element that may justify it. The Commission shall send the case to the competent authority taking into account the nature of the case, and may recommend, according to its seriousness, the application of preventive suspension in the post or office and its treatment within a peremptory term;
b) to receive complaints of failure to act by enforcement bodies, in the event of complaints submitted before them, promoting as the case may be the pertinent liability procedures;
c) to draft the Public Ethics Regulations of the National Congress, according to the criteria and the principles set forth by article 2, national precedents on the subject and the contribution of specialized bodies. Said regulations must be presented before the Honorable Congress of the Nation for its approval by joint resolution of both Chambers;
d) to receive from, and when appropriate, demand the entities of application copies of the financial disclosure statements of the officials mentioned in article 5 and keep them for up to ten years as from the day on which they cease in their posts;
e) to guarantee compliance with articles 10 and 11 of this law and to apply the punishments set forth in the latter;
f) to publicly register administrative and judicial penalties imposed for violations of any of the provisions of this law, which shall be communicated to the competent authority;
g) to give advise and nonbinding opinions on the interpretation of situations covered by this law;
h) to recommend to Congress within 120 days after the entry into force of this law, changes in current legislation to guarantee transparency in the State Procurement System and improve the System for Financing of Political Parties and Electoral Campaigns;
i) to design and promote programs for training and dissemination of this law for the staff covered by it;
j) to require cooperation from the various agencies of the National Government, in their sphere of competence, to obtain all necessary information for carrying out its duties;
k) to draft its own regulations and to designate its authorities;
l) to prepare an annual public report on its work, and to ensure its dissemination;
m) to request the people included in article 5 subparagraph v) of this law the submission of the financial disclosure statements whenever it deems it appropriate.
Amendments to the Penal Code
ARTICLE 26. — Be article 23 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 23: The sentence shall determine the seizure of the goods used to commit the crime and that of the goods and product or profit obtained from the crime for the benefit of the national State, of the provinces or the municipalities, except for the rights of restitution or compensation of the victim and third parties.
If such things endanger public security, the seizure can be ordered even if it affects third parties, except for their right to compensation, if they acted in good faith.
When the active party or the accessories acted as somebody’s agent or as an entity, a member or manager of a legal person and the product or profit has benefited the principal or the legal person, the seizure shall be executed against them.
When the product or profit of the crime gratuitously benefits a third party, the seizure shall be executed against him.
If the seized good has useful or cultural value for any official or public welfare establishment, the national, provincial or municipal authority may order its assignment to such entities. If the good has only a commercial value, the competent authority shall order its sale. The good shall be destroyed when it has no legitimate value whatsoever.
ARTICLE 27. — Be article 29 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 29: The sentence shall provide for:
1. The restoration of things to the state prior to the crime, whenever possible, ordering restitution and other necessary measures.
2. The compensation for the material damage or emotional distress caused to the victim, his family or a third party, amount which must be prudently fixed by the court when lacking conclusive evidence.
3. The reimbursement of procedural costs.
ARTICLE 28. — Be article 30 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 30: Compensation debts have priority over all other liabilities incurred by the convict after having committed the crime, over the executing of the seizure of the product or gain produced by the crime, and also priority over the fine. If the assets of the convict are insufficient to cover all his liabilities, they shall be satisfied in the following order:
1. Compensation for damages.
2. Reimbursement of the procedural costs.
3. Seizure of the product or gain produced by the crime.
4. The payment of the fine.
ARTICLE 29. — Be article 67 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 67: Prescription is suspended in crimes for the judgment of which the prior adjudication of the preliminary or prejudicial matters in another trial is necessary. When the cause of suspension terminates, the prescription continues to run.
Prescription is also suspended in the cases of crimes committed while holding public office, for all of the perpetrators, for the time during which any of them remains holding such office.
For the crimes prescribed in Articles 226 and 227 (b), the prescription will be suspended until the restoration of constitutional order.
Prescription is interrupted by the commission of or trial for another crime.
Prescription runs and is suspended or interrupted, independently for each perpetrator, except for the situation prescribed by the second paragraph of this Article.
ARTICLE 30. — Be the heading of chapter VI title XI of book II of the Penal Code replaced by the following: “Chapter VI: Bribery and Improper Lobbying “.
ARTICLE 31. — Be article 256 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 256: Any public official who personally or by means of an intermediary, receives Money or any other gift, or directly or indirectly accepts promise of such in order to carry out, delay, or not to do something in relation to his duties, shall be punished with imprisonment or jailing from one to six years and special disqualification for life.
ARTICLE 32. — Be article 256 (b) incorporated into the Penal Code:
Article 256 (b): Anybody who personally or through an intermediary, requests or receives money or any other gifts, or directly or indirectly accepts promise of such in order to make unlawful use of his influence before a public official, with the purpose of having such official do, delay or not do something in relation to his duties, shall be punished with imprisonment or jailing from one to six years and special disqualification for life regarding the exercise of any public office.
If such conduct is intended to make unlawful use of any influence before a magistrate of the Judiciary Branch or the General Attorney’s Office, with the purpose of having such magistrate issue, decree, delay or omit any resolution, sentence or judgment concerning any matter under his jurisdiction, the maximum punishment shall be twelve years.
ARTICLE 33. — Be article 257 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 257: Any magistrate from the Judiciary Branch or the General Attorney’s Office who personally or through an intermediary, accepts money or any other gift, or directly or indirectly accepts promise of such in order to issue, decree, delay or omit any resolution, sentence or judgment concerning any matter under his jurisdiction, shall be punished with jailing or imprisonment from four to twelve years and total disqualification for life.
ARTICLE 34.— Be article 258 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 258: Any person who personally or through an intermediary gives or offers any gift for the purpose of obtaining any of the conducts punished by Sections 256 and 256 (b) paragraph 1 shall be punished with jailing from one to six years. If the gift is given or offered with the purpose of obtaining any of the conducts described in Sections 256 (b), second paragraph and 257, the punishment shall be imprisonment or jailing from two to six years. If the perpetrator is a public official, special disqualification from two to six years shall also be imposed in the first case, and from three to ten years in the second case.
ARTICLE 35. — Be article 265 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 265: Any public official who personally, through an intermediary or by a fictitious act, show san interest, for his own benefit or for the benefit of a third party, in a contract or transaction which by reason of this office he has intervened in, shall be punished with imprisonment or jailing from one to six years and special disqualification for life.
This provision shall also be applied to arbitrators, mediators, experts, accountants, tutors, curators, receivers and liquidators with regard to the duties performed in such capacities.
ARTICLE 36. — Be article 258 (b) incorporated into the Penal Code:
Article 258 (b): Any person who offers or gives a public official from a foreign State or from an international public organization, personally or through an intermediary, money or any object of pecuniary value or other benefits such as gifts, favors, promises or benefits, for his own benefit or for the benefit of a third party, for the purpose of having such official do or not do an act related to his office or to use the influence derived from the office he holds in an economic, financial or commercial transaction, shall be published with imprisonment from one (1) to six (6) years and special disqualification for life in respect of the exercise of any public office
ARTICLE 37. — Be article 266 of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 266: Any public official who by the illegal abuse of his office, unduly requests, demands or forces the payment or delivery, personally or through an intermediary, of any tax, fee or gift, or charges any higher fee than he is authorized, shall be punished with jailing from one to tour years and special disqualification from one to five years.
ARTICLE 38. — Be article 268 (2) of the Penal Code replaced by the following:
Article 268 (2): Punishment with imprisonment or mailing from two to six years, a fine from fifty to one hundred percent of the value of the enrichment and total disqualification for life shall be applied to any person who, upon due request, fails to justify the cause of a considerable net worth enrichment of his own as well as of the intermediary interposed in order to disguise it, which took place after assuming a public office or position and up to two years following the end of its exercise.
Enrichment shall be deemed to occur not only when the net worth has been increased with money, assets or goods, but also when debts have been cancelled or obligations which affected it, cancelled.
The intermediary interposed in order to disguise the enrichment shall suffer the same punishment as the perpetrator.
ARTICLE 39. — Be article 268 (3) incorporated into the Penal Code:
Article 268 (3): Jailing from fifteen days to two years and special disqualification for life shall be applied to any person who, being compelled by reason of his office to present a financial disclosure statement, maliciously fails to do so.
The crime shall be configured when, upon any reliable notice of the respective demand, the required official does not comply with the above mentioned obligation within the time periods set forth by the applicable law.
The same punishment shall be applied to any person who maliciously distorts or fails to insert any facts that the above-mentioned statements must include in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
Publicity and dissemination
ARTICLE 40. — The National Commission on Public Ethics and the entities of application as appropriate may make the conclusions reached about the commission of an act in violation of public ethics public, by the means they deem appropriate and according to the characteristics of each case and the applicable rules.
ARTICLE 41. — The entities of application shall promote permanent training programs and dissemination programs on the content of this law and its regulations, so that the people involved are duly informed.
The teaching of public ethics shall be included as a specific content in all educational levels.
ARTICLE 42. — Publicity of acts, programs, works, services and campaigns of public entities shall have an educational, informative and social-oriented feature, and the names, symbols or images which may involve the personal promotion of the authorities or public officials cannot be included.
Entry into force and transitory provisions
ARTICLE 43. — The provisions included in Chapters I, II, V, VI, VIII, IX and X of this law shall enter into force on the eighth day after its publication.
The provisions included in Chapters III and IV of this law shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following its publication
The provisions included in Chapter VII shall enter into force on the earlier of: i) the ninetieth day after its publication, ii) the date on which the regulation mentioned in article 22 enters into force.
ARTICLE 44. — Judges, officials and public employees covered by the system of financial disclosure statements set forth in this law, who are in office as of the date on which the system enters into force, must comply with the pertinent submissions within thirty days following effective date.
ARTICLE 45. — Officials and public employees included in the regime of incompatibilities established in this law as of the date of the entry into force of such regime must choose between performing the duties of their respective posts and performing the incompatible activity within thirty days after following the effective date.