Gifts and reimbursements.
Except as indicated in § 2634.308(b), each financial disclosure report filed pursuant to this subpart shall contain the identity of the source, a brief description, and the value of all gifts aggregating more than $350 in value which are received by the filer during the reporting period from any one source. For in-kind travel-related gifts, include a travel itinerary, dates, and nature of expenses provided.
Except as indicated in § 2634.308(b), each financial disclosure report filed pursuant to this subpart shall contain the identity of the source, a brief description (including a travel itinerary, dates, and the nature of expenses provided), and the value of any travel-related reimbursements aggregating more than $350 in value, which are received by the filer during the reporting period from any one source.
Reports need not contain any information about gifts and reimbursements to which the provisions of this section would otherwise apply which are received from relatives (see § 2634.105(o)) or during a period in which the filer was not an officer or employee of the Federal Government. Additionally, any food, lodging, or entertainment received as “personal hospitality of any individual,” as defined in § 2634.105(k), need not be reported. See also exclusions specified in the definitions of gift and reimbursement, at § 2634.105(h) and (n).
Any gift or reimbursement with a fair market value of $140 or less need not be aggregated for purposes of the reporting rules of this section. However, the acceptance of gifts, whether or not reportable, is subject to the restrictions imposed by Executive Order 12674, as modified by Executive Order 12731, and the implementing regulations on standards of ethical conduct.
An official accepts a print, a pen and pencil set, and a letter opener from a community service organization he has worked with solely in his private capacity. He determines, in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section, that these gifts are valued as follows:
Gift 1—Print: $190
Gift 2—Pen and pencil set: $185
Gift 3—Letter opener: $20
The official must disclose Gifts 1 and 2, since together they aggregate more than $350 in value from the same source. Gift 3 need not be aggregated, because its value does not exceed $140.
An official receives the following gifts from a single source:
1. Dinner for two at a local restaurant—$120.
2. Round-trip taxi fare to meet donor at the restaurant—$25.
3. Dinner at donor's city residence—(value uncertain).
4. Round-trip airline transportation and hotel accommodations to visit Epcot Center in Florida—$400.
5. Weekend at donor's country home, including duck hunting and tennis match—(value uncertain).
The official need only disclose Gift 4. Gift 1 falls within the exclusion in § 2634.105(h)(4)
for food and beverages not consumed in connection with a gift of overnight lodging. Gifts 3 and 5 need not be disclosed because they fall within the exception for personal hospitality of an individual. Gift 2 need not be aggregated and reported, because its value does not exceed $140.
An official receives free tickets from an outside source for himself and his spouse to attend an awards banquet at a local club. The value of each ticket is $180. Even though this is a gift which exceeds the more than $350 threshold amount for disclosure, the official need not report it, because of the exclusion in § 2634.105(h)(4)
for food and beverages not consumed in connection with a gift of overnight lodging.
Prior to accepting this gift of tickets, the individual should consult ethics officials at his agency to determine whether standards of conduct rules will permit acceptance, depending on whether or not the donor is a prohibited source and the exact nature of the event.
An official is asked to speak at an out-of-town meeting on a matter which is unrelated to her official duties and her agency. The round-trip airfare exceeds $350. If the official pays for the ticket and is then reimbursed by the organization to which she spoke, she must disclose this reimbursement under paragraph (b) of this section. If the organization simply provided the ticket, that must be disclosed as a gift under paragraph (a) of this section.
Valuation of gifts and reimbursements.
The value to be assigned to a gift or reimbursement is its fair market value. For most reimbursements, this will be the amount actually received. For gifts, the value should be determined in one of the following manners:
If the gift has been newly purchased or is readily available in the market, the value shall be its retail price. The filer need not contact the donor, but may contact a retail establishment selling similar items to determine the present cost in the market.
If the item is not readily available in the market, such as a piece of art, a handmade item, or an antique, the filer may make a good faith estimate of the value of the item.
The term readily available in the market means that an item generally is available for retail purchase in the metropolitan area nearest to the official's residence.
Items such as a pen and pencil set, letter opener, leather case or engraved pen are generally available in the market and can be determined by contacting stores which sell like items and ascertaining the retail price of each.
The market value of a ticket entitling the holder to attend an event which includes food, refreshments, entertainment or other benefits is the face value of the ticket, which may exceed the actual cost of the food and other benefits. The value of food and beverages may be excludable under § 2634.105(h)(4)
, if applicable, by making a good faith estimate, or by determining their actual cost from the caterer, restaurant, or similar source.
Waiver rule in the case of certain gifts—
In unusual cases, the value of a gift as defined in § 2634.105(h) need not be aggregated for reporting threshold purposes under this section, and therefore the gift need not be reported on an SF 278, if the Director of OGE receives a written request for and issues a waiver, after determining that:
Both the basis of the relationship between the grantor and the grantee and the motivation behind the gift are personal; and
No countervailing public purpose requires public disclosure of the nature, source, and value of the gift.
Example to paragraph (f)(1).
i. The Secretary of Education and her spouse receive the following two wedding gifts:
A. Gift 1—A crystal decanter valued at $385 from the Secretary's former college roommate and lifelong friend, who is a real estate broker in Wyoming.
B. Gift 2—A gift of a print valued at $400 from a business partner of the spouse, who owns a catering company.
ii. Under these circumstances, the Director of OGE may grant a request for a waiver of the requirement to aggregate and report on an SF 278 each of these gifts.
Public disclosure of waiver request.
If approved in whole or in part, the cover letter requesting the waiver shall be subject to the public disclosure requirements in § 2634.603 of this part.
A public filer seeking a waiver under this paragraph (f) shall submit a request to the Office of Government Ethics, through his agency. The request shall be made by a cover letter which identifies the filer and his position and which states that a waiver is requested under this section.
On an enclosure to the cover letter, the filer shall set forth:
The identity and occupation of the donor;
A statement that the relationship between the donor and the filer is personal in nature;
A statement that neither the donor nor any person or organization who employs the donor or whom the donor represents, conducts or seeks business with, engages in activities regulated by, or is directly affected by action taken by, the agency employing the filer. If the preceding statement cannot be made without qualification, the filer shall indicate those qualifications, along with a statement demonstrating that he plays no role in any official action which might directly affect the donor or any organization for which the donor works or serves as a representative; and
A brief description of the gift and the value of the gift.
With respect to the information required in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section, if a gift has more than one donor, the filer shall provide the necessary information for each donor.
[57 FR 11808, Apr. 7, 1992; 57 FR 62605, Dec. 31, 1992, as amended at 63 FR 69992
, Dec. 18, 1998; 64 FR 49640
, Sept. 14, 1999; 65 FR 69656
, Nov. 20, 2000; 67 FR 61762
, Oct. 2, 2002; 70 FR 12112
, Mar. 11, 2005; 71 FR 28233
, May 16, 2006; 73 FR 15388
, Mar. 24, 2008; 76 FR 38548
, July 1, 2011]