5 CFR § 2635.201 - Overview and considerations for declining otherwise permissible gifts.
(a) Overview. This subpart contains standards that prohibit an employee from soliciting or accepting any gift from a prohibited source or any gift given because of the employee's official position, unless the item is excluded from the definition of a gift or falls within one of the exceptions set forth in this subpart.
(b) Considerations for declining otherwise permissible gifts.
(1) Every employee has a fundamental responsibility to the United States and its citizens to place loyalty to the Constitution, laws, and ethical principles above private gain. An employee's actions should promote the public's trust that this responsibility is being met. For this reason, employees should consider declining otherwise permissible gifts if they believe that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question the employee's integrity or impartiality as a result of accepting the gift.
(2) An employee who is considering whether acceptance of a gift would lead a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his or her integrity or impartiality may consider, among other relevant factors, whether:
(ii) The timing of the gift creates the appearance that the donor is seeking to influence an official action;
(iv) Acceptance of the gift would provide the donor with significantly disproportionate access.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section, an employee who accepts a gift that qualifies for an exception under § 2635.204 does not violate this subpart or the Principles of Ethical Conduct set forth in § 2635.101(b).
(4) Employees who have questions regarding this subpart, including whether the employee should decline a gift that would otherwise be permitted under an exception found in § 2635.204, should seek advice from an agency ethics official.