5 CFR § 2635.206 - Proper disposition of prohibited gifts.

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§ 2635.206 Proper disposition of prohibited gifts.

(a) Unless a gift is accepted by an agency acting under specific statutory authority, an employee who has received a gift that cannot be accepted under this subpart must dispose of the gift in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section. The employee must promptly complete the authorized disposition of the gift. The obligation to dispose of a gift that cannot be accepted under this subpart is independent of an agency's decision regarding corrective or disciplinary action under § 2635.106.

(1) Gifts of tangible items. The employee must promptly return any tangible item to the donor or pay the donor its market value; or, in the case of a tangible item with a market value of $100 or less, the employee may destroy the item. An employee who cannot ascertain the actual market value of an item may estimate its market value by reference to the retail cost of similar items of like quality.

Example 1 to paragraph (a)(1):
A Department of Commerce employee received a $25 T-shirt from a prohibited source after providing training at a conference. Because the gift would not be permissible under an exception to this subpart, the employee must either return or destroy the T-shirt or promptly reimburse the donor $25. Destruction may be carried out by physical destruction or by permanently discarding the T-shirt by placing it in the trash.
Example 2 to paragraph (a)(1):
To avoid public embarrassment to the seminar sponsor, an employee of the National Park Service did not decline a barometer worth $200 given at the conclusion of his speech on Federal lands policy. To comply with this section, the employee must either promptly return the barometer or pay the donor the market value of the gift. Alternatively, the National Park Service may choose to accept the gift if permitted under specific statutory gift acceptance authority. The employee may not destroy this gift, as the market value is in excess of $100.

(2) Gifts of perishable items. When it is not practical to return a tangible item in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section because the item is perishable, the employee may, at the discretion of the employee's supervisor or the agency designee, give the item to an appropriate charity, share the item within the recipient's office, or destroy the item.

Example 1 to paragraph (a)(2):
With approval by the recipient's supervisor, a floral arrangement sent by a disability claimant to a helpful employee of the Social Security Administration may be placed in the office's reception area.

(3) Gifts of intangibles. The employee must promptly reimburse the donor the market value for any entertainment, favor, service, benefit or other intangible. Subsequent reciprocation by the employee does not constitute reimbursement.

Example 1 to paragraph (a)(3):
A Department of Defense employee wishes to attend a charitable event to which he has been offered a $300 ticket by a prohibited source. Although his attendance is not in the interest of the agency under § 2635.204(g), he may attend if he reimburses the donor the $300 face value of the ticket.

(4) Gifts from foreign governments or international organizations. The employee must dispose of gifts from foreign governments or international organizations in accordance with 41 CFR part 102–42.

(b) An agency may authorize disposition or return of gifts at Government expense. Employees may use penalty mail to forward reimbursements required or permitted by this section.

(c) An employee who, on his or her own initiative, promptly complies with the requirements of this section will not be deemed to have improperly accepted an unsolicited gift. An employee who promptly consults his or her agency ethics official to determine whether acceptance of an unsolicited gift is proper and who, upon the advice of the ethics official, returns the gift or otherwise disposes of the gift in accordance with this section, will be considered to have complied with the requirements of this section on the employee's own initiative.

(d) Employees are encouraged to record any actions they have taken to properly dispose of gifts that cannot be accepted under this subpart, such as by sending an electronic mail message to the appropriate agency ethics official or the employee's supervisor.