Wedding/Graduation/Baby Gifts

June seems to be the month where everyone is holding bridal showers and baby showers, which high school and college graduations are also in full force. Lobbyists should take heed and be cautious on whether to give a particular gift.

In addition to food, drinks, travel, and lodging, there are occasions when people want to give tangible gifts to Members and staffers – and sometimes those who want to give gifts are lobbyists and the organizations and associations that employ or retain them.  The $50/$100 allowance in place before the enactment before HLOGA still applies to non-lobbyists and in certain instances, the organization or company that employs or retains the lobbyists. However, HLOGA included a gift ban that applies to every individual lobbyist and every lobbying firm.

General rule on gifts:  Lobbyists and entities that employ or retain lobbyists (and registered foreign agents) may not pay for or give any gift to a Member Buy Viagra of Congress or a congressional staffer.  For purposes of the gift rule, an entity that employs or retains lobbyists to represent only the organization’s interests will not be considered a lobbyist.

Type of Gift Factors Allowing Gift
Special occasions:  Weddings, Anniversaries, Babies, Graduations 
  • General Waiver: Advance written request from Member/staffer for general waiver for gifts for wedding or birth of a baby (not public)
  • If no advance waiver, must obtain specific waiver for specific gifts (public)
  • If valued at more than $335, must be disclosed on personal financial disclosure report
  • Waiver may be requested on case-by-case basis for significant anniversaries and graduations

 

Gifts to Spouses or relatives of Members/staffers
  • Gifts to spouses or relatives of Members and staff may not be accepted if given to circumvent the prohibitions on gifts to Members and staffers

 

 

For more information or to purchase the Lobbying Compliance Handbook click here.

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