Jim Lager is the Deputy Ethics Counselor to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), and advises GAO on conflicts of interest, ethics, personal and organizational independence, and manages GAO’s ethics and financial disclosure programs. Jim has substantial experience as a labor and employment lawyer, representing private and government clients in trial and appellate courts, and as an investigator in various contexts, including serving as a lead congressional investigator examining violation of federal campaign laws. Jim is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, where he teaches ethics-related courses in its Masters in Accounting and MBA programs, a member of the Heterodox Academy, which advocates for viewpoint diversity and constructive disagreement in higher education, and a collaborator to Ethicalsystems.org, a nonprofit organization that makes the world's best research available and accessible, for free, to anyone interested in improving ethical culture and behavior.
Jim received a Juris Doctorate from the Washington College of Law/American University, and a Masters of Science in Organization Development from American University/NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. His publications include "Beyond Compliance," in the Ethical Leadership: Global Challenges and Perspectives(C. Millar and E. Poole, eds. 2011), "Governments Demand Compliance, Ethics Demands Leadership," Journal of Public Affairs 10(216-224) (2010), and "Overcoming Cultures of Compliance to Reduce Corruption and Achieve Ethics in Government," 41 McGeorge L. Rev. 63 (2009). His 2009 essay: "Have a Problem with Compliance?" for the American Society for Public Administration’s PA Times was awarded the H. George Frederickson Best Article Award. He is still working on an article encouraging auditors and others to include behavioral science in audit engagements and in designing internal controls.