§ 140.735-4Receipt and disposition of foreign gifts and decorations.
(a) For purposes of this section only:
(1)Commission member or employee means any Commission member or any person employed by or who occupies an office or a position in the Commission; an expert or consultant under contract with the Commission, or in the case of an organization performing services under such contract, any individual involved in the performance of such service; and the spouse, unless the individual and his or her spouse are separated, and any dependent, as defined by section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, of any such person.
(2)Foreign government means:
(A) Any unit of foreign governmental authority, including any foreign national, state, local, and municipal government;
(B) Any international or multinational organization whose membership is composed of any unit of foreign government described in paragraph (a)(2)(A) of this section; and
(C) Any agent or representative of any such unit or such organization, while acting as such.
(3)Gift means a tangible or intangible present (other than a decoration) tendered by, or received from, a foreign government, except grants and other forms of assistance to which section 108A of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 applies.
(4)Decoration means an order, device, medal, badge, insignia, emblem, or award tendered by, or received from, a foreign government.
(5)Minimal value means a retail value in the United States at the time of acceptance of $140 or less, except as redefined to reflect changes in the consumer price index at three year intervals by the Administrator of General Services pursuant to authority granted in 5 U.S.C. 7342(a)(5)(A).
(b) Commission members and employees shall not:
(1) Request or otherwise encourage the tender of a gift or decoration;
(2) Accept a gift of currency, except that which has an historical or numismatic value;
(3) Accept gifts of travel or gifts of expenses for travel, such as transportation, food and lodging, from foreign governments, other than those authorized in paragraph (c)(5) of this section; or
(4) Accept any gift or decoration, except as authorized by this section.
(c) Gifts which may be accepted:
(1) Commission members and employees may accept and retain gifts of minimal value tendered or received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy from a foreign government without further approval. If the value of a gift is uncertain, the recipient shall be responsible for establishing that it is of minimal value, as defined in this section. Documentary evidence may be required in support of the valuation.
(2) Commission members and employees may accept, on behalf of the United States, gifts of more than minimal value tendered or received from a foreign government when it appears that to refuse the gift would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States. When a tangible gift of more than minimal value is accepted on behalf of the United States, it becomes the property of the United States.
(3) Commission members and employees may accept a gift of more than minimal value where such gift is in the nature of an educational scholarship or medical treatment.
(4) Within 60 days after accepting a tangible gift of more than minimal value, other than a gift described in paragraph (c)(5) of this section, a Commission member or employee shall file a statement with the Executive Director of the Commission which shall include the following information:
(A) The name and position of the Commission member or employee;
(B) A brief description of the gift and the circumstances justify acceptance;
(C) The identity, if known, of the foreign government and the name and position of the individual who presented the gift;
(D) The date of acceptance of the gift;
(E) The estimated value in the United States of the gift at the time of acceptance; and
(F) The disposition or current location of the gift.
(5) Commission members and employees are authorized to accept from a foreign government gifts of travel or gifts of expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the United States, such as transportation, food and lodging, of more than minimal value if the acceptance is approved by the Executive Director, upon a finding that it is consistent with the interests of the Commission. Either prior to or within 30 days after accepting each gift of travel or gift of travel expenses pursuant to this paragraph, the Commission member or employee concerned shall file a statement with the Executive Director containing the following information:
(A) The name and position of the Commission member or employee;
(B) A brief description of the gift and the circumstances justifying acceptance;
(C) The identity, if known, of the foreign government and the name and position of the individual who presented the gift; and
(D) The date of acceptance.
(6) Not later than January 31 of each year the Executive Director shall compile a listing of all statements filed during the preceding year by Commission members and employees pursuant to paragraphs (c)(4) and (c)(5) of this section and shall transmit the listing to the Secretary of State.
(d) Commission members or employees may accept, retain and wear decorations tendered by a foreign government in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or awarded for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance, subject to the approval of the Executive Director. Without this approval, the decoration is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States, shall become the property of the United States, and shall be deposited by the employee, within 60 days of acceptance, with the Executive Director for official use or forwarding to the Administrator of General Services for disposal in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section. Under normal circumstances, it can be expected that a Commission member or employee will be notified of the intent of a foreign government to award him or her or a spouse or dependent a decoration for outstanding or unusually meritorious service sufficiently in advance so that the approval required can be sought prior to its acceptance. A request for the approval of the Executive Director shall be submitted in writing, stating the nature of the decoration and the reason why it is being awarded. Whenever possible, the request should also be accompanied by a statement from the foreign government, preferably in the form of the citation, which shows the basis for the tender of the award, whether it is in recognition of active field service in time of combat operations or for other outstanding or unusually meritorious performance.
(e) Within 60 days after acceptance of a tangible gift of more than minimal value or a decoration for which the Executive Director has not given approval, a Commission member or employee shall:
(1) Deposit the gift or decoration for disposal with the Executive Director; or
(2) Subject to the approval of the Commission, upon the recommendation of the Executive Director, deposit the gift or decoration with the Commission for official use.
A gift or decoration may be retained for official use if the Commission determines that it can be properly displayed in an area accessible to employees and members of the public. Within 30 days after termination of the official use of a gift, the Executive Director shall forward the gift to the Administrator of General Services in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section.
(f) Whenever possible, gifts and decorations that have been deposited with the Executive Director for disposal shall be returned to the donor. The Executive Director, in coordination with the Office of the General Counsel, shall examine the circumstances surrounding the donation, assessing whether any adverse effect on the foreign relations of the United States might result from the return of the gift or decoration to the donor. The appropriate Department of State officials shall be consulted if a question of adverse effect on United States foreign relations arises.
(g) Gifts and decorations that have not been returned to the donor, retained for official use, or for which official use has terminated, shall be forwarded by the Executive Director to the Administrator of General Services for transfer, donation, or other disposal in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, and 5 U.S.C. 7342.
(h) In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 7342(h), the U.S. Attorney General may bring a civil action in any United States district court against any Commission member or employee who knowingly solicits or accepts a gift from a foreign government not consented to by the Congress of the United States in 5 U.S.C. 7342, or who fails to deposit or report such gift as required by 5 U.S.C. 7342. The court may assess a penalty against such Commission member or employee in any amount not exceeding the retail value of the gift improperly solicited or received plus $5,000.
(i) A violation of the requirements set forth in this section by a Commission employee may be cause for appropriate disciplinary action which may be in addition to any penalty prescribed by law.
(1) The burden of proving minimal value shall be on the recipient. In the event of a dispute over the value of a gift, the Executive Director shall arrange for an outside appraiser to determine whether the gift is of more or less than minimal value.
(2) When requested by the Administrator of Government Services, the Executive Director shall arrange for an appraisal of a gift or decoration.
(k) No appropriated funds of the Commission may be used to buy any tangible gift of more than minimal value for any foreign individual, unless the gift has been approved by Congress.
[47 FR 24115, June 3, 1982. Redesignated at 58 FR 52658, Oct. 12, 1993; 63 FR 32733, June 16, 1998]
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