§ 2635.204 Exceptions to the prohibition for acceptance of certain gifts.
Subject to the limitations in § 2635.205, this section establishes exceptions to the prohibitions set forth in § 2635.202(a) and (b). Even though acceptance of a gift may be permitted by one of the exceptions contained in this section, it is never inappropriate and frequently prudent for an employee to decline a gift if acceptance would cause a reasonable person to question the employee's integrity or impartiality. Section 2635.201(b) identifies considerations for declining otherwise permissible gifts.
(a)Gifts of $20 or less. An employee may accept unsolicited gifts having an aggregate market value of $20 or less per source per occasion, provided that the aggregate market value of individual gifts received from any one person under the authority of this paragraph (a) does not exceed $50 in a calendar year. This exception does not apply to gifts of cash or of investment interests such as stock, bonds, or certificates of deposit. Where the market value of a gift or the aggregate market value of gifts offered on any single occasion exceeds $20, the employee may not pay the excess value over $20 in order to accept that portion of the gift or those gifts worth $20. Where the aggregate value of tangible items offered on a single occasion exceeds $20, the employee may decline any distinct and separate item in order to accept those items aggregating $20 or less.
Example 1 to paragraph (a):
An employee of the Securities and Exchange Commission and his spouse have been invited by a representative of a regulated entity to a community theater production, tickets to which have a face value of $30 each. The aggregate market value of the gifts offered on this single occasion is $60, $40 more than the $20 amount that may be accepted for a single event or presentation. The employee may not accept the gift of the evening of entertainment. He and his spouse may attend the play only if he pays the full $60 value of the two tickets.
Example 2 to paragraph (a):
An employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has been invited by an association of cartographers to speak about her agency's role in the evolution of missile technology. At the conclusion of her speech, the association presents the employee a framed map with a market value of $18 and a ceramic mug that has a market value of $15. The employee may accept the map or the mug, but not both, because the aggregate value of these two tangible items exceeds $20.
Example 3 to paragraph (a):
On four occasions during the calendar year, an employee of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) was given gifts worth $10 each by four employees of a corporation that is a DLA contractor. For purposes of applying the yearly $50 limitation on gifts of $20 or less from any one person, the four gifts must be aggregated because a person is defined at § 2635.102(k)
to mean not only the corporate entity, but its officers and employees as well. However, for purposes of applying the $50 aggregate limitation, the employee would not have to include the value of a birthday present received from his cousin, who is employed by the same corporation, if he can accept the birthday present under the exception at paragraph (b)
of this section for gifts based on a personal relationship.
Example 4 to paragraph (a):
Under the authority of 31 U.S.C. 1353
for agencies to accept payments from non-Federal sources in connection with attendance at certain meetings or similar functions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accepted an association's gift of travel expenses and conference fees for an employee to attend a conference on the long-term effect of radon exposure. While at the conference, the employee may accept a gift of $20 or less from the association or from another person attending the conference even though it was not approved in advance by the EPA. Although 31 U.S.C. 1353
is the authority under which the EPA accepted the gift to the agency of travel expenses and conference fees, a gift of $20 or less accepted under paragraph (a)
of this section is a gift to the employee rather than to her employing agency.
Example 5 to paragraph (a):
During off-duty time, an employee of the Department of Defense (DoD) attends a trade show involving companies that are DoD contractors. He is offered software worth $15 at X Company's booth, a calendar worth $12 at Y Company's booth, and a deli lunch worth $8 from Z Company. The employee may accept all three of these items because they do not exceed $20 per source, even though they total more than $20 at this single occasion.
Example 6 to paragraph (a):
An employee of the Department of Defense (DoD) is being promoted to a higher level position in another DoD office. Six individuals, each employed by a different defense contractor, who have worked with the DoD employee over the years, decide to act in concert to pool their resources to buy her a nicer gift than each could buy her separately. Each defense contractor employee contributes $20 to buy a desk clock for the DoD employee that has a market value of $120. Although each of the contributions does not exceed the $20 limit, the employee may not accept the $120 gift because it is a single gift that has a market value in excess of $20.
Example 7 to paragraph (a):
During a holiday party, an employee of the Department of State is given a $15 store gift card to a national coffee chain by an agency contractor. The employee may accept the card as the market value is less than $20. The employee could not, however, accept a gift card that is issued by a credit card company or other financial institution, because such a card is equivalent to a gift of cash.
(b)Gifts based on a personal relationship. An employee may accept a gift given by an individual under circumstances which make it clear that the gift is motivated by a family relationship or personal friendship rather than the position of the employee. Relevant factors in making such a determination include the history and nature of the relationship and whether the family member or friend personally pays for the gift.
Example 1 to paragraph (b):
An employee of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has been dating an accountant employed by a member bank. As part of its “Work-Life Balance” program, the bank has given each employee in the accountant's division two tickets to a professional basketball game and has urged each to invite a family member or friend to share the evening of entertainment. Under the circumstances, the FDIC employee may accept the invitation to attend the game. Even though the tickets were initially purchased by the member bank, they were given without reservation to the accountant to use as she wished, and her invitation to the employee was motivated by their personal friendship.
Example 2 to paragraph (b):
Three partners in a law firm that handles corporate mergers have invited an employee of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to join them in a golf tournament at a private club at the firm's expense. The entry fee is $500 per foursome. The employee cannot accept the gift of one-quarter of the entry fee even though he and the three partners have developed an amicable relationship as a result of the firm's dealings with the FTC. As evidenced in part by the fact that the fees are to be paid by the firm, it is not a personal friendship but a business relationship that is the motivation behind the partners' gift.
Example 3 to paragraph (b):
A Peace Corps employee enjoys using a social media site on the internet in his personal capacity outside of work. He has used the site to keep in touch with friends, neighbors, coworkers, professional contacts, and other individuals he has met over the years through both work and personal activities. One of these individuals works for a contractor that provides language services to the Peace Corps. The employee was acting in his official capacity when he met the individual at a meeting to discuss a matter related to the contract between their respective employers. Thereafter, the two communicated occasionally regarding contract matters. They later also granted one another access to join their social media networks through their respective social media accounts. However, they did not communicate further in their personal capacities, carry on extensive personal interactions, or meet socially outside of work. One day, the individual, whose employer continues to serve as a Peace Corps contractor, contacts the employee to offer him a pair of concert tickets worth $30 apiece. Although the employee and the individual are connected through social media, the circumstances do not demonstrate that the gift was clearly motivated by a personal relationship, rather than the position of the employee, and therefore the employee may not accept the gift pursuant to paragraph (b)
of this section.
(c)Discounts and similar benefits. In addition to those opportunities and benefits excluded from the definition of a gift by § 2635.203(b)(4), an employee may accept:
(1) A reduction or waiver of the fees for membership or other fees for participation in organization activities offered to all Government employees or all uniformed military personnel by professional organizations if the only restrictions on membership relate to professional qualifications; and
(2) Opportunities and benefits, including favorable rates, commercial discounts, and free attendance or participation not precluded by paragraph (c)(3) of this section:
(i) Offered to members of a group or class in which membership is unrelated to Government employment;
(ii) Offered to members of an organization, such as an employees' association or agency credit union, in which membership is related to Government employment if the same offer is broadly available to large segments of the public through organizations of similar size; or
(iii) Offered by a person who is not a prohibited source to any group or class that is not defined in a manner that specifically discriminates among Government employees on the basis of type of official responsibility or on a basis that favors those of higher rank or rate of pay.
Example 1 to paragraph (c)(2):
A computer company offers a discount on the purchase of computer equipment to all public and private sector computer procurement officials who work in organizations with over 300 employees. An employee who works as the computer procurement official for a Government agency could not accept the discount to purchase the personal computer under the exception in paragraph (c)(2)(i)
of this section. Her membership in the group to which the discount is offered is related to Government employment because her membership is based on her status as a procurement official with the Government.
Example 2 to paragraph (c)(2):
An employee of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may accept a discount of $50 on a microwave oven offered by the manufacturer to all members of the CPSC employees' association. Even though the CPSC is currently conducting studies on the safety of microwave ovens, the $50 discount is a standard offer that the manufacturer has made broadly available through a number of employee associations and similar organizations to large segments of the public.
Example 3 to paragraph (c)(2):
An Assistant Secretary may not accept a local country club's offer of membership to all members of Department Secretariats which includes a waiver of its $5,000 membership initiation fee. Even though the country club is not a prohibited source, the offer discriminates in favor of higher ranking officials.
(3) An employee may not accept for personal use any benefit to which the Government is entitled as the result of an expenditure of Government funds, unless authorized by statute or regulation (e.g., 5 U.S.C. 5702, note, regarding frequent flyer miles).
Example 1 to paragraph (c)(3):
The administrative officer for a field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has signed an order to purchase 50 boxes of photocopy paper from a supplier whose literature advertises that it will give a free briefcase to anyone who purchases 50 or more boxes. Because the paper was purchased with ICE funds, the administrative officer cannot keep the briefcase which, if claimed and received, is Government property.
(d)Awards and honorary degrees -
(1)Awards. An employee may accept a bona fide award for meritorious public service or achievement and any item incident to the award, provided that:
(i) The award and any item incident to the award are not from a person who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's official duties, or from an association or other organization if a majority of its members have such interests; and
(ii) If the award or any item incident to the award is in the form of cash or an investment interest, or if the aggregate value of the award and any item incident to the award, other than free attendance to the event provided to the employee and to members of the employee's family by the sponsor of the event, exceeds $200, the agency ethics official has made a written determination that the award is made as part of an established program of recognition.
Example 1 to paragraph (d)(1):
Based on a written determination by an agency ethics official that the prize meets the criteria set forth in paragraph (d)(2)
of this section, an employee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may accept the Nobel Prize for Medicine, including the cash award which accompanies the prize, even though the prize was conferred on the basis of laboratory work performed at NIH.
Example 2 to paragraph (d)(1):
A defense contractor, ABC Systems, has an annual award program for the outstanding public employee of the year. The award includes a cash payment of $1,000. The award program is wholly funded to ensure its continuation on a regular basis for the next twenty years and selection of award recipients is made pursuant to written standards. An employee of the Department of the Air Force, who has duties that include overseeing contract performance by ABC Systems, is selected to receive the award. The employee may not accept the cash award because ABC Systems has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's official duties.
Example 3 to paragraph (d)(1):
An ambassador selected by a nonprofit organization as a recipient of its annual award for distinguished service in the interest of world peace may, together with his spouse and children, attend the awards ceremony dinner and accept a crystal bowl worth $200 presented during the ceremony. However, where the organization has also offered airline tickets for the ambassador and his family to travel to the city where the awards ceremony is to be held, the aggregate value of the tickets and the crystal bowl exceeds $200, and he may accept only upon a written determination by the agency ethics official that the award is made as part of an established program of recognition.
(2)Established program of recognition. An award and an item incident to the award are made pursuant to an established program of recognition if:
(i) Awards have been made on a regular basis or, if the program is new, there is a reasonable basis for concluding that awards will be made on a regular basis based on funding or funding commitments; and
(ii) Selection of award recipients is made pursuant to written standards.
(3)Honorary degrees. An employee may accept an honorary degree from an institution of higher education, as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001, or from a similar foreign institution of higher education, based on a written determination by an agency ethics official that the timing of the award of the degree would not cause a reasonable person to question the employee's impartiality in a matter affecting the institution.
Note to paragraph (d)(3):
When the honorary degree is offered by a foreign institution of higher education, the agency may need to make a separate determination as to whether the institution of higher education is a foreign government for purposes of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution (U.S. Const., art. I, sec. 9, cl. 8), which forbids employees from accepting emoluments, presents, offices, or titles from foreign governments, without the consent of Congress. The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.S.C. 7342, however, may permit the acceptance of honorary degrees in some circumstances.
Example 1 to paragraph (d)(3):
A well-known university located in the United States wishes to give an honorary degree to the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary may accept the honorary degree only if an agency ethics official determines in writing that the timing of the award of the degree would not cause a reasonable person to question the Secretary's impartiality in a matter affecting the university.
(4)Presentation events. An employee who may accept an award or honorary degree pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) or (3) of this section may also accept free attendance to the event provided to the employee and to members of the employee's family by the sponsor of an event. In addition, the employee may also accept unsolicited offers of travel to and from the event provided to the employee and to members of the employee's family by the sponsor of the event. Travel expenses accepted under this paragraph (d)(4) must be added to the value of the award for purposes of determining whether the aggregate value of the award exceeds $200.
(e)Gifts based on outside business or employment relationships. An employee may accept meals, lodgings, transportation and other benefits:
(1) Resulting from the business or employment activities of an employee's spouse when it is clear that such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the employee's official position;
Example 1 to paragraph (e)(1):
A Department of Agriculture employee whose spouse is a computer programmer employed by a Department of Agriculture contractor may attend the company's annual retreat for all of its employees and their families held at a resort facility. However, under § 2635.502
, the employee may be disqualified from performing official duties affecting her spouse's employer.
Example 2 to paragraph (e)(1):
Where the spouses of other clerical personnel have not been invited, an employee of the Defense Contract Audit Agency whose spouse is a clerical worker at a defense contractor may not attend the contractor's annual retreat in Hawaii for corporate officers and members of the board of directors, even though his spouse received a special invitation for herself and the employee.
(2) Resulting from the employee's outside business or employment activities when it is clear that such benefits are based on the outside business or employment activities and have not been offered or enhanced because of the employee's official status;
Example 1 to paragraph (e)(2):
The members of an Army Corps of Engineers environmental advisory committee that meets six times per year are special Government employees. A member who has a consulting business may accept an invitation to a $50 dinner from her corporate client, an Army construction contractor, unless, for example, the invitation was extended in order to discuss the activities of the advisory committee.
(3) Customarily provided by a prospective employer in connection with bona fide employment discussions. If the prospective employer has interests that could be affected by performance or nonperformance of the employee's duties, acceptance is permitted only if the employee first has complied with the disqualification requirements of subpart F of this part applicable when seeking employment; or
Example 1 to paragraph (e)(3):
An employee of the Federal Communications Commission with responsibility for drafting regulations affecting all cable television companies wishes to apply for a job opening with a cable television holding company. Once she has properly disqualified herself from further work on the regulations as required by subpart F
of this part, she may enter into employment discussions with the company and may accept the company's offer to pay for her airfare, hotel, and meals in connection with an interview trip.
(4) Provided by a former employer to attend a reception or similar event when other former employees have been invited to attend, the invitation and benefits are based on the former employment relationship, and it is clear that such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the employee's official position.
Example 1 to paragraph (e)(4):
An employee of the Department of the Army is invited by her former employer, an Army contractor, to attend its annual holiday dinner party. The former employer traditionally invites both its current and former employees to the holiday dinner regardless of their current employment activities. Under these circumstances, the employee may attend the dinner because the dinner invitation is a result of the employee's former outside employment activities, other former employees have been asked to attend, and the gift is not offered because of the employee's official position.
(5) For purposes of paragraphs (e)(1) through (4) of this section, “employment” means any form of non-Federal employment or business relationship involving the provision of personal services.
(f)Gifts in connection with political activities permitted by the Hatch Act Reform Amendments. An employee who, in accordance with the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993, at 5 U.S.C. 7323, may take an active part in political management or in political campaigns, may accept meals, lodgings, transportation, and other benefits, including free attendance at events, for the employee and an accompanying spouse or other guests, when provided, in connection with such active participation, by a political organization described in 26 U.S.C. 527(e). Any other employee, such as a security officer, whose official duties require him or her to accompany an employee to a political event, may accept meals, free attendance, and entertainment provided at the event by such an organization.
Example 1 to paragraph (f):
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services may accept an airline ticket and hotel accommodations furnished by the campaign committee of a candidate for the United States Senate in order to give a speech in support of the candidate.
(g)Gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings -
(1)Authorization. When authorized in writing by the agency designee pursuant to paragraph (g)(3) of this section, an employee may accept an unsolicited gift of free attendance at all or appropriate parts of a widely attended gathering. For an employee who is subject to a leave system, attendance at the event will be on the employee's own time or, if authorized by the employee's agency, on excused absence pursuant to applicable guidelines for granting such absence, or otherwise without charge to the employee's leave account.
(2)Widely attended gatherings. A gathering is widely attended if it is expected that a large number of persons will attend, that persons with a diversity of views or interests will be present, for example, if it is open to members from throughout the interested industry or profession or if those in attendance represent a range of persons interested in a given matter, and that there will be an opportunity to exchange ideas and views among invited persons.
(3)Written authorization by the agency designee. The agency designee may authorize an employee or employees to accept a gift of free attendance at all or appropriate parts of a widely attended gathering only if the agency designee issues a written determination after finding that:
(i) The event is a widely attended gathering, as set forth in paragraph (g)(2) of this section;
(ii) The employee's attendance at the event is in the agency's interest because it will further agency programs or operations;
(iii) The agency's interest in the employee's attendance outweighs the concern that the employee may be, or may appear to be, improperly influenced in the performance of official duties; and
(iv) If a person other than the sponsor of the event invites or designates the employee as the recipient of the gift of free attendance and bears the cost of that gift, the event is expected to be attended by more than 100 persons and the value of the gift of free attendance does not exceed $375.
(4)Determination of agency interest. In determining whether the agency's interest in the employee's attendance outweighs the concern that the employee may be, or may appear to be, improperly influenced in the performance of official duties, the agency designee may consider relevant factors including:
(i) The importance of the event to the agency;
(ii) The nature and sensitivity of any pending matter affecting the interests of the person who extended the invitation and the significance of the employee's role in any such matter;
(iii) The purpose of the event;
(iv) The identity of other expected participants;
(v) Whether acceptance would reasonably create the appearance that the donor is receiving preferential treatment;
(vi) Whether the Government is also providing persons with views or interests that differ from those of the donor with access to the Government; and
(vii) The market value of the gift of free attendance.
(5)Cost provided by person other than the sponsor of the event. The cost of the employee's attendance will be considered to be provided by a person other than the sponsor of the event where such person designates the employee to be invited and bears the cost of the employee's attendance through a contribution or other payment intended to facilitate the employee's attendance. Payment of dues or a similar assessment to a sponsoring organization does not constitute a payment intended to facilitate a particular employee's attendance.
(6)Accompanying spouse or other guest. When others in attendance will generally be accompanied by a spouse or other guest, and where the invitation is from the same person who has invited the employee, the agency designee may authorize an employee to accept an unsolicited invitation of free attendance to an accompanying spouse or one other accompanying guest to participate in all or a portion of the event at which the employee's free attendance is permitted under paragraph (g)(1) this section. The authorization required by this paragraph (g)(6) must be provided in writing.
Example 1 to paragraph (g):
An aerospace industry association that is a prohibited source sponsors an industry-wide, two-day seminar for which it charges a fee of $800 and anticipates attendance of approximately 400. An Air Force contractor pays $4,000 to the association so that the association can extend free invitations to five Air Force officials designated by the contractor. The Air Force officials may not accept the gifts of free attendance because (a) the contractor, rather than the association, provided the cost of their attendance; (b) the contractor designated the specific employees to receive the gift of free attendance; and (c) the value of the gift exceeds $375 per employee.
Example 2 to paragraph (g):
An aerospace industry association that is a prohibited source sponsors an industry-wide, two-day seminar for which it charges a fee of $25 and anticipates attendance of approximately 50. An Air Force contractor pays $125 to the association so that the association can extend free invitations to five Air Force officials designated by the contractor. The Air Force officials may not accept the gifts of free attendance because (a) the contractor, rather than the association, provided the cost of their attendance; (b) the contractor designated the specific employees to receive the gift of free attendance; and (c) the event was not expected to be attended by more than 100 persons.
Example 3 to paragraph (g):
An aerospace industry association that is a prohibited source sponsors an industry-wide, two-day seminar for which it charges a fee of $800 and anticipates attendance of approximately 400. An Air Force contractor pays $4,000 in order that the association might invite any five Federal employees. An Air Force official to whom the sponsoring association, rather than the contractor, extended one of the five invitations could attend if the employee's participation were determined to be in the interest of the agency and he received a written authorization.
Example 4 to paragraph (g):
An employee of the Department of Transportation is invited by a news organization to an annual press dinner sponsored by an association of press organizations. Tickets for the event cost $375 per person and attendance is limited to 400 representatives of press organizations and their guests. If the employee's attendance is determined to be in the interest of the agency and she receives a written authorization from the agency designee, she may accept the invitation from the news organization because more than 100 persons will attend and the cost of the ticket does not exceed $375. However, if the invitation were extended to the employee and an accompanying guest, the employee's guest could not be authorized to attend for free because the market value of the gift of free attendance would exceed $375.
Example 5 to paragraph (g):
An employee of the Department of Energy (DOE) and his spouse have been invited by a major utility executive to a small dinner party. A few other officials of the utility and their spouses or other guests are also invited, as is a representative of a consumer group concerned with utility rates and her spouse. The DOE official believes the dinner party will provide him an opportunity to socialize with and get to know those in attendance. The employee may not accept the free invitation under this exception, even if his attendance could be determined to be in the interest of the agency. The small dinner party is not a widely attended gathering. Nor could the employee be authorized to accept even if the event were instead a corporate banquet to which forty company officials and their spouses or other guests were invited. In this second case, notwithstanding the larger number of persons expected (as opposed to the small dinner party just noted) and despite the presence of the consumer group representative and her spouse who are not officials of the utility, those in attendance would still not represent a diversity of views or interests. Thus, the company banquet would not qualify as a widely attended gathering under those circumstances either.
Example 6 to paragraph (g):
An Assistant U.S. Attorney is invited to attend a luncheon meeting of a local bar association to hear a distinguished judge lecture on cross-examining expert witnesses. Although members of the bar association are assessed a $15 fee for the meeting, the Assistant U.S. Attorney may accept the bar association's offer to attend for free, even without a determination of agency interest. The gift can be accepted under the $20 gift exception at paragraph (a)
of this section.
Example 7 to paragraph (g):
An employee of the Department of the Interior authorized to speak on the first day of a four-day conference on endangered species may accept the sponsor's waiver of the conference fee for the first day of the conference under § 2635.203(b)(8)
. If the conference is widely attended, the employee may be authorized to accept the sponsor's offer to waive the attendance fee for the remainder of the conference if the agency designee has made a written determination that attendance is in the agency's interest.
Example 8 to paragraph (g):
A military officer has been approved to attend a widely attended gathering, pursuant to paragraph (g)
of this section, that will be held in the same city as the officer's duty station. The defense contractor sponsoring the event has offered to transport the officer in a limousine to the event. The officer may not accept the offer of transportation because the definition of “free attendance” set forth in § 2635.203(g) excludes travel, and the market value of the transportation would exceed $20.
(h)Social invitations. An employee may accept food, refreshments, and entertainment, not including travel or lodgings, for the employee and an accompanying spouse or other guests, at a social event attended by several persons if:
(1) The invitation is unsolicited and is from a person who is not a prohibited source;
(2) No fee is charged to any person in attendance; and
(3) If either the sponsor of the event or the person extending the invitation to the employee is not an individual, the agency designee has made a written determination after finding that the employee's attendance would not cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the employee's integrity or impartiality, consistent with § 2635.201(b).
Example 1 to paragraph (h):
An employee of the White House Press Office has been invited to a social dinner for current and former White House Press Officers at the home of an individual who is not a prohibited source. The employee may attend even if she is being invited because of her official position.
(i)Meals, refreshments, and entertainment in foreign areas. An employee assigned to duty in, or on official travel to, a foreign area as defined in 41 CFR 300-3.1300-3.1 may accept unsolicited food, refreshments, or entertainment in the course of a breakfast, luncheon, dinner, or other meeting or event provided:
(1) The market value in the foreign area of the food, refreshments or entertainment provided at the meeting or event, as converted to U.S. dollars, does not exceed the per diem rate for the foreign area specified in the U.S. Department of State's Maximum Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas, Per Diem Supplement Section 925 to the Standardized Regulations (GC-FA), available on the Internet at www.state.gov;
(2) There is participation in the meeting or event by non-U.S. citizens or by representatives of foreign governments or other foreign entities;
(3) Attendance at the meeting or event is part of the employee's official duties to obtain information, disseminate information, promote the export of U.S. goods and services, represent the United States, or otherwise further programs or operations of the agency or the U.S. mission in the foreign area; and
(4) The gift of meals, refreshments, or entertainment is from a person other than a foreign government as defined in 5 U.S.C. 7342(a)(2).
Example 1 to paragraph (i):
A number of local business owners in a developing country are eager for a U.S. company to locate a manufacturing facility in their province. An official of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation may accompany the visiting vice president of the U.S. company to a dinner meeting hosted by the business owners at a province restaurant where the market value of the food and refreshments does not exceed the per diem rate for that country.
(j)Gifts to the President or Vice President. Because of considerations relating to the conduct of their offices, including those of protocol and etiquette, the President or the Vice President may accept any gift on his or her own behalf or on behalf of any family member, provided that such acceptance does not violate § 2635.205(a) or (b), 18 U.S.C. 201(b) or 201(c)(3), or the Constitution of the United States.
(k)Gifts authorized by supplemental agency regulation. An employee may accept any gift when acceptance of the gift is specifically authorized by a supplemental agency regulation issued with the concurrence of the Office of Government Ethics, pursuant to § 2635.105.
(l)Gifts accepted under specific statutory authority. The prohibitions on acceptance of gifts from outside sources contained in this subpart do not apply to any item which a statute specifically authorizes an employee to accept. Gifts which may be accepted by an employee under the authority of specific statutes include, but are not limited to:
(1) Free attendance, course or meeting materials, transportation, lodgings, food and refreshments or reimbursements therefor incident to training or meetings when accepted by the employee under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 4111. The employee's acceptance must be approved by the agency in accordance with part 410 of this title; or
(2) Gifts from a foreign government or international or multinational organization, or its representative, when accepted by the employee under the authority of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, 5 U.S.C. 7342. As a condition of acceptance, an employee must comply with requirements imposed by the agency's regulations or procedures implementing that Act.
(m)Gifts of informational materials.
(1) An employee may accept unsolicited gifts of informational materials, provided that:
(i) The aggregate market value of all informational materials received from any one person does not exceed $100 in a calendar year; or
(ii) If the aggregate market value of all informational materials from the same person exceeds $100 in a calendar year, an agency designee has made a written determination after finding that acceptance by the employee would not be inconsistent with the standard set forth in § 2635.201(b).
(2)Informational materials are writings, recordings, documents, records, or other items that:
(i) Are educational or instructive in nature;
(ii) Are not primarily created for entertainment, display, or decoration; and
(iii) Contain information that relates in whole or in part to the following categories:
(A) The employee's official duties or position, profession, or field of study;
(B) A general subject matter area, industry, or economic sector affected by or involved in the programs or operations of the agency; or
(C) Another topic of interest to the agency or its mission.
Example 1 to paragraph (m):
An analyst at the Agricultural Research Service receives an edition of an agricultural research journal in the mail from a consortium of private farming operations concerned with soil toxicity. The journal edition has a market value of $75. The analyst may accept the gift.
Example 2 to paragraph (m):
An inspector at the Mine Safety and Health Administration receives a popular novel with a market value of $25 from a mine operator. Because the novel is primarily for entertainment purposes, the inspector may not accept the gift.
Example 3 to paragraph (m):
An employee at the Department of the Army is offered an encyclopedia on cyberwarfare from a prohibited source. The cost of the encyclopedia is far in excess of $100. The agency designee determines that acceptance of the gift would be inconsistent with the standard set out in § 2635.201(b)
. The employee may not accept the gift under paragraph (m)
of this section.