5 CFR 2635.203 - Definitions.

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§ 2635.203 Definitions.

For purposes of this subpart, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) Agency has the meaning set forth in § 2635.102(a). However, for purposes of this subpart, an executive department, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 101, may, by supplemental agency regulation, designate as a separate agency any component of that department which the department determines exercises distinct and separate functions.

(b) Gift includes any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value. It includes services as well as gifts of training, transportation, local travel, lodgings and meals, whether provided in-kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred. It does not include:

(1) Modest items of food and refreshments, such as soft drinks, coffee and donuts, offered other than as part of a meal;

(2) Greeting cards and items with little intrinsic value, such as plaques, certificates, and trophies, which are intended solely for presentation;

(3) Loans from banks and other financial institutions on terms generally available to the public;

(4) Opportunities and benefits, including favorable rates and commercial discounts, available to the public or to a class consisting of all Government employees or all uniformed military personnel, whether or not restricted on the basis of geographic considerations;

(5) Rewards and prizes given to competitors in contests or events, including random drawings, open to the public unless the employee's entry into the contest or event is required as part of his official duties;

(6) Pension and other benefits resulting from continued participation in an employee welfare and benefits plan maintained by a former employer;

(7) Anything which is paid for by the Government or secured by the Government under Government contract;


Some airlines encourage those purchasing tickets to join programs that award free flights and other benefits to frequent fliers. Any such benefit earned on the basis of Government-financed travel belongs to the agency rather than to the employee and may be accepted only insofar as provided under 41 CFR 301-53.

(8) Any gift accepted by the Government under specific statutory authority, including:

(i) Travel, subsistence, and related expenses accepted by an agency under the authority of 31 U.S.C. 1353 in connection with an employee's attendance at a meeting or similar function relating to his official duties which takes place away from his duty station. The agency's acceptance must be in accordance with the implementing regulations at 41 CFR part 304-1; and

(ii) Other gifts provided in-kind which have been accepted by an agency under its agency gift acceptance statute; or

(9) Anything for which market value is paid by the employee.

(c) Market value means the retail cost the employee would incur to purchase the gift. An employee who cannot ascertain the market value of a gift may estimate its market value by reference to the retail cost of similar items of like quality. The market value of a gift of a ticket entitling the holder to food, refreshments, entertainment, or any other benefit shall be the face value of the ticket.

Example 1:
An employee who has been given an acrylic paperweight embedded with the corporate logo of a prohibited source may determine its market value based on her observation that a comparable acrylic paperweight, not embedded with a logo, generally sells for about $20.
Example 2:
A prohibited source has offered an employee a ticket to a charitable event consisting of a cocktail reception to be followed by an evening of chamber music. Even though the food, refreshments, and entertainment provided at the event may be worth only $20, the market value of the ticket is its $250 face value.

(d) Prohibited source means any person who:

(1) Is seeking official action by the employee's agency;

(2) Does business or seeks to do business with the employee's agency;

(3) Conducts activities regulated by the employee's agency;

(4) Has interests that may be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of the employee's official duties; or

(5) Is an organization a majority of whose members are described in paragraphs (d) (1) through (4) of this section.

(e) A gift is solicited or accepted because of the employee's official position if it is from a person other than an employee and would not have been solicited, offered, or given had the employee not held the status, authority or duties associated with his Federal position.


Gifts between employees are subject to the limitations set forth in subpart C of this part.

Example 1:
Where free season tickets are offered by an opera guild to all members of the Cabinet, the gift is offered because of their official positions.
Example 2:
Employees at a regional office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) work in Government-leased space at a private office building, along with various private business tenants. A major fire in the building during normal office hours causes a traumatic experience for all occupants of the building in making their escape, and it is the subject of widespread news coverage. A corporate hotel chain, which does not meet the definition of a prohibited source for DOJ, seizes the moment and announces that it will give a free night's lodging to all building occupants and their families, as a public goodwill gesture. Employees of DOJ may accept, as this gift is not being given because of their Government positions. The donor's motivation for offering this gift is unrelated to the DOJ employees' status, authority or duties associated with their Federal position, but instead is based on their mere presence in the building as occupants at the time of the fire.

(f) A gift which is solicited or accepted indirectly includes a gift:

(1) Given with the employee's knowledge and acquiescence to his parent, sibling, spouse, child, or dependent relative because of that person's relationship to the employee, or

(2) Given to any other person, including any charitable organization, on the basis of designation, recommendation, or other specification by the employee, except as permitted for the disposition of perishable items by § 2635.205(a)(2).

Example 1:
An employee who must decline a gift of a personal computer pursuant to this subpart may not suggest that the gift be given instead to one of five charitable organizations whose names are provided by the employee.

(g) Vendor promotional training means training provided by any person for the purpose of promoting its products or services. It does not include training provided under a Government contract or by a contractor to facilitate use of products or services it furnishes under a Government contract.

[57 FR 35042, Aug. 7, 1992, as amended at 60 FR 51667, Oct. 3, 1995; 63 FR 69993, Dec. 18, 1998; 64 FR 2422, Jan. 14, 1999; 72 FR 16986, Apr. 6, 2007]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.

United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 5 - APPENDIX
Presidential Documents

Executive Order ... 12674

Executive Order ... 12731

Title 5 published on 2015-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 5 CFR Part 2635 after this date.

  • 2016-11-18; vol. 81 # 223 - Friday, November 18, 2016
    1. 81 FR 81641 - Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch; Amendment to the Standards Governing Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts from Outside Sources
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      Final rule.
      This final rule is effective January 1, 2017.
      5 CFR Part 2635
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