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NEWS | March 31, 2017

Government employee gift restrictions

By Jon Stanley 628th Air Base Wing Legal Office

Government employees are often approached by contractors or community leaders with gift offers; some modest and some not so modest.  As a government employee, you may not accept gifts from someone who does or who is seeking to do business with the federal government. Nor are you allowed to accept gifts given because of your official position. Both are considered prohibited sources. This is the general restriction briefed to all employees at their initial employee ethics briefing. 

Disciplinary actions, including removal from federal service, have resulted for employees who have violated these rules.  Depending on the situation, there may also be criminal consequences for accepting gifts without legal authority. 

If approached with a gift offer, please notify the 628th Air Base Wing legal office for analysis and consideration before choosing to accept any gift offer.  There are 29 exceptions to the definition of gift, which makes legal review all that more important. 

For example, a gift given to a government employee, which was unsolicited and with a market value of $20 or less (not cash or a cash equivalent) on a single occasion by a single source may be accepted, but that decision should be made after advice from the designated installation ethics officer. 

Exceptions to the definition of a gift require legal study.  Other exceptions to the general prohibition include perishables; de minimis gift items, contest prizes, food and refreshments, personal relationships or wounded or sick warriors. 

For more information, please contact us at (843) 963-5502. The 628th ABW legal office stands ready to assist you and your team, ensuring legal compliance to protect your integrity and the integrity of this installation.