Legislator Gift Restrictions

12/17/2019

Ethics laws generally restrict gifts to legislators as a means of preventing the possibility that a gift could appear to improperly influence official action.

Many states place looser limits on gifts from friends and family than gifts from lobbyists or others with an interest in influencing a legislator. Gifts from family or close personal friends are commonly exempt from most restrictions.

Some ethics laws specify the maximum dollar value allowable of a gift, or the aggregate value of gifts that may be given in a year. The range of limits states use may be as low as a few dollars per gift or meal, or as much as a few hundred dollars aggregately per year.

The type of gift and circumstances in which it is given may determine a gift’s legality. Plaques, greeting cards, trophies, and other token gifts often are generally exempt from restrictions. A gift clearly motivated by personal friendship and unrelated to a legislator’s official position or duties will be exempt from restrictions in most states, as would emergency medical assistance. However, a gift conditioned upon a legislator taking a particular course of official action may be improper, regardless of the gift’s value.

The following table provides summaries of the statutory restrictions, prohibitions, definitions, and exceptions to prohibitions for gifts to legislators in all 50 states, plus D.C., the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

This table is intended to provide general information and does not necessarily address all aspects of this topic. Because the facts of each situation may vary, this information may need to be supplemented by consulting legal advisors. All content is up to date through 02/23/2020.

Laws Prohibiting Gifts
State Gift Limits Definitions & Exceptions
Alabama

No person shall offer or give to a public official, employee or a member of their household, and nor shall they solicit or receive anything, for the purpose of corruptly influencing official action, regardless of value. Ala. Code § 36-25-7. No public official or employee shall solicit or receive any money, in addition to that received in an official capacity for advice or assistance on matters concerning the Legislature, lobbying. Ala. Code § 36-25-7.

No lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist, or principal shall offer or provide a "thing of value" to a public employee, official or to a family member of the employee or official; the same shall not solicit or receive a thing of value from a lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist, or principal. Does not apply to items of de minimis value. Ala. Code § 36-25-5.1.

"Thing of value" includes: Any gift, benefit, favor, service, gratuity, tickets or passes to an entertainment, social or sporting event, unsecured loan, other than those loans and forbearances made in the ordinary course of business, reward, promise of future employment, or honoraria or other item of monetary value. Ala. Code § 36-25-1.

"Thing of value" does not include: A campaign contribution. Gifts from a family member or friend when motivated by familial relationship or friendship, respectively. Greeting cards, plaques, certificates, trophies, promotional items or other items or services with little intrinsic value. Loans from financial institutions on terms generally available to the public.  Opportunities and benefits available to the public or a class of all government employees. Rewards or prizes for competitors in contests or events open to the public. Anything paid for by a governmental entity or contractor, except for sporting event tickets offered by an educational institution to anyone other than faculty, staff, or administration. Anything if recipient pays full value. Compensation and benefits from a non-governmental employer, vendor, client, etc. if in the ordinary course of business unrelated to the recipient's public service. Assistance rendered or provided in connection with a safety or health emergency. Reimbursement or payment for transportation/lodging/etc. to facilitate attendance to an educational function or widely attended event of which the person is a primary sponsor, if public official or employee meaningfully participates in the event as a speaker or panel participant, presenter, or ceremonial function appropriate to the position, or if attendance is appropriate to the performance of official duties. Payment/reimbursement for transportation/lodging to facilitate participation in an economic development function. Hospitality provided as part of an educational function, economic development function, work session, or widely attended event. Any function or activity pre-certified by the Ethics Commission. Food/beverages provided in any setting not otherwise specified if not over $25 per meal/$150 per year if from a lobbyist, or $50 per meal/$250 per year if from a principal. Anything either provided by an association or organization to which the state or, in the case of a local government official or employee, the local government pays annual dues as a membership requirement or provided by an association or organization to a public official who is a member of the association or organization and, as a result of his or her service to the association or organization, is deemed to be a public official. Any benefit received as a discount on accommodations, if given because of membership in an organization or association whose entire membership receives the discount. Inheritance. Ala. Code § 36-25-1.

Alaska

Except as otherwise provided, a legislator or legislative employee may not: solicit, accept, or receive, directly or indirectly, a gift worth $250 or more, whether in the form of money, services, a loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, promise, or other form, or gifts from the same person worth less than $250 that in a calendar year aggregate to $250 or more in value; solicit, accept, or receive a gift with any monetary value from a lobbyist, an immediate family member of a lobbyist, or a person acting on behalf of a lobbyist. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 24.60.080.

Exceptions to the no-gifts-from-lobbyists rule: food or nonalcoholic beverage for immediate consumption that is valued at $15 or less or was provided as part of an event open to all legislators or legislative employees. Contribution to a charity event and gifts to which the tickets may entitle the bearer, although this exception does not apply to tickets and gifts with a value of over $250 per year. A gift unconnected to legislative status and from an immediate family member. Gifts delivered on a state facility and accepted on behalf of a charity. A compassionate gift. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 24.60.080.

General exceptions: Hospitality with incidental transportation at the residence of a person, at a social event or meal; discounts available generally or when on official state business, but only if receipt benefits the state; foodstuffs indigenous to the state shared as a cultural or social norm; travel and hospitality to obtain information on matters of legislative concern; gifts from immediate family or unconnected to a recipient's legislative status; a welcome discount or gift if available generally to all legislators and staff; a gift of legal and legal related services in a matter of legislative concern; a gift of transportation between legislators or employees if in the state and on or in a means of transport owned or under the control of the donor; a contribution or ticket to a charity event, or gift in connection with a charity event.
A political contribution is not a gift if properly reported or is exempt from the reporting. The use of a bulk mailing permit owned by a legislator's campaign committee or used in a legislator's election campaign is not a gift. A legislator or legislative employee may accept a gift worth $250 or more, other than money, from another government or from an official of another government if accepted on behalf of the legislature. The person shall, within 60 days, deliver the gift to the legislative council, which shall determine the appropriate disposition of the gift. Gifts solicited, accepted, or received on behalf of a recognized, nonpolitical charitable organization. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 24.60.080.

Arizona

A public officer or employee shall not use or attempt to use the officer's or employee's official position to secure any valuable thing or valuable benefit for the officer or employee that would not ordinarily accrue to the officer or employee in the performance of the officer's or employee's official duties if the thing or benefit is of such character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the officer or employee with respect to the officer's or employee's duties. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38-504.

A principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person's behalf shall not make an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment for a state officer or state employee. A state officer or state employee shall not accept an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment from a principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person's behalf. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 41-1232.08.

“Gift” means a payment, distribution, expenditure, advance, deposit or donation of money, any intangible personal property or any kind of tangible personal or real property. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 41-1231.

Exceptions: A gift, devise or inheritance from family. Expenditures properly reported or exempt for: A speaking engagement. Food or beverages. Travel and lodging. Flowers. Salary, compensation or employer-reimbursed expenses lawfully paid. Professional or consulting services not rendered to obtain a benefit for any registered principal, public body, or lobbyist. Expenses relating to a special event or function to which all members of the legislature, either house or any committee is invited. A plaque or similar form of honorary recognition of a service or notable accomplishment. Informational material. An item not used and returned within 15 days to the donor or charity and not claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes. A campaign contribution properly received and reported. Items of a similar value exchanged at the same time or on a similar occasion. Gifts of a personal nature customarily received by an individual before the individual became a state officer or employee. An item given to the general public at an event. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 41-1231.

Arkansas

Persons elected or appointed to select offices, including members of the general assembly, shall not solicit or accept a gift from a lobbyist or a person acting on behalf of one. A lobbyist shall not offer or pay for food or drink at more than 1 planned activity in a 7 day period. Does not prohibit the acceptance of: (1) Food, drink, informational materials, or other items included in a conference registration fee; and (2) Food and drink at events coordinated through the regional or national conference and provided to persons registered to attend. Ark. Const. art. XIX,§ 30.

President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House may, in their official capacity, accept gifts, grants, and donations of money or property on behalf of the state for any lawful public purpose. Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-804.

“Gift” means: Any payment, entertainment, service, or anything of value, unless consideration of equal or greater value has been given therefor; or any advance or loan. AR Const. Art. 19, § 30 & Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-402.

“Gift” does not include: Informational material regarding official duties; Payments for travel or reimbursement for expenses; Gifts not used and, within 30 days after receipt, are returned to the donor; Gifts from family, unless the person is acting as an agent or intermediary for a person not covered by this subdivision; Anything of value readily available to the general public at no cost; Food or drink available at a planned activity to which a governmental body is invited. If a committee of the General Assembly is invited, only members of the committee may accept food or drink. Payments by regional or national organizations for travel to conferences at which Arkansas is requested to be represented by a person or persons elected or appointed to an office. Campaign contributions; Any devise or inheritance;  Anything of value in connection with: employment or occupation or service as an officer, director, or board member of a corporation, a firm registered to do business in the state, or other organization that files a state and federal tax return or is an affiliate of such an organization, if unrelated to the duties or responsibilities of the office; A personalized award, plaque, or trophy with a value of $150 or less; The use of 1 or more rooms or facilities utilized by a state agency or political subdivision for the purpose of conducting a meeting of a specific governmental body. Nonalcoholic beverages provided at a meeting of a civic, social, or cultural organization or group; Food and nonalcoholic beverages provided to participants in a bona fide panel, seminar, or speaking engagement at which the audience is a civic, social, or cultural organization or group; Anything of value provided by a party when: The official swearing-in, inaugural, and recognition events of constitutional officers and members of the General Assembly; and An official event of a party so long as all members of the General Assembly affiliated with the party are invited. AR Const. Art. 19, § 30 & Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-402.

“Gift” also does not include: Anything with a value of $100 or less. Wedding presents and engagement gifts; A monetary or other award presented to an employee of a public school district, the Arkansas School for the Blind, the Arkansas School for the Deaf, the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, a university, a college, a technical college, a technical institute, a comprehensive life-long learning center, or a community college in recognition of the employee's contribution to education; Tickets to charitable fund-raising events held within this state by a nonprofit; An item which purchased with their own personal funds and presented in recognition of public service; Award publicly presented in recognition of contributions to the community and State when presentation is by the employee's supervisors or peers, individually or through a nonprofit, and receipt of the award would not create the appearance of using a position for private gain, giving preferential treatment to any person, or losing independence or impartiality. Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-402.

California

It shall be unlawful for a lobbyist, or lobbying firm, to make gifts to 1 person aggregating more than $10 in a calendar month, or to act as an agent or intermediary in the making of any gift, or to arrange for the making of any gift by any other person. It is also unlawful to receive any gift under this provision. Cal. Gov't Code § 86203 & Cal. Gov't Code § 85204.

No elected state officer or candidate shall accept gifts from any single source in any calendar year with a total value of more than $250. Cal. Gov't Code § 89503.

“Gift” means a gift made to any state candidate, elected state officer, or legislative official, or to an agency official of any agency required to be listed on the registration statement of the lobbying firm or the lobbyist employer of the lobbyist. Cal. Gov't Code § 86201.

This section shall not prohibit or limit: (1) Payments, advances, or reimbursements for travel and related lodging and subsistence. (2) Wedding gifts and gifts exchanged between individuals on birthdays, holidays, and other similar occasions, provided that the gifts exchanged are not substantially disproportionate in value. Cal. Gov't Code § 89503.

Colorado

No public officer, member of the general assembly, local government official, or government employee shall accept or receive any money, forbearance, or forgiveness of indebtedness from any person, without such person receiving lawful consideration of equal or greater value in return. May not solicit, accept or receive any gift or other thing of value worth more than $50, aggregate in a calendar year. C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 29, § 3.

No professional lobbyist shall knowingly offer, give, or arrange to give, to any public officer, member of the general assembly, or government employee, or to a member of such person's immediate family, any gift or thing of value, of any kind or nature; provided, however, that a professional lobbyist shall not be prohibited from offering or giving a member of his or her immediate family any such item. C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 29, § 3.

Exceptions to gift prohibition: A campaign contribution; An unsolicited item of trivial value less than $50; An unsolicited token or award of appreciation; Unsolicited informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient's performance of official duties; Admission to, and the cost of food or beverages consumed at, a reception, meal or meeting by an organization before whom the recipient appears to speak or to answer questions as part of a scheduled program; Reasonable expenses paid by a nonprofit or other state or local government for attendance at a convention, fact-finding mission or trip, or other meeting if the person is scheduled to deliver a speech, make a presentation, participate on a panel, or represent the state or local government, provided that the non-profit receives less than 5% of its funding from for-profit organizations or entities; Given by an individual who is a relative or personal friend of the recipient on a special occasion. A component of the compensation paid or other incentive given to the recipient in the normal course of employment. C.R.S.A. Const. Art. 29, § 3.

Connecticut

No person shall offer or give to a public official, candidate for office, family members or an associated business, and none shall accept, anything of value based on any understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official or candidate would be or had been influenced thereby. No public official or candidate shall solicit or accept anything of value under the same condition. Shall also not accept any gift from a person known to do business or seeking to do business with the department or agency overseen by the official. May not accept or give gifts from or to a supervised employee or official of $100 or more. No public official, candidate, member of any such person's staff or immediate family shall knowingly accept any gift from a person known to be a registrant or anyone known to be acting on behalf of a registrant. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-84.

No registrant shall knowingly give a gift to any state employee, public official, candidate for public office or a member of any such person's staff or immediate family. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-97.

“Gift” means anything of value, which is directly and personally received, unless consideration of equal or greater value is given in return. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-79.

“Gift” does not include: A political contribution reported as required; Political volunteers; A loan with terms no more favorable than loans available to the public; Gift received from family; Goods or services provided to a state agency for use on state property, or that support an event and facilitate agency action or functions; A ceremonial award costing less than $100; A rebate, discount or promotional item available to the public; Printed or recorded informational material germane to state action or functions; Food or beverage costing less than $50 in the aggregate per recipient in a year, consumed when the person paying for the food or beverage, or a representative, is in attendance; Food or beverage costing less than $50 per person and consumed at a publicly noticed legislative reception to which all members are invited and is hosted not more than once in any year by a lobbyist or business organization; A gift for the celebration of a major life event, if provided by a non-family member not to exceed $1,000 in value; Gifts less than $100 in the aggregate or food or beverage provided at a hospitality suite of an interstate legislative association, by a person who is not a registrant or is not doing business with Connecticut; Admission to a charitable or civic event, excluding lodging or travel, at which a public official participates in an official capacity; Anything of value provided customarily by an employer of a public official, or a spouse of a public official, to such official or spouse; Anything having a value of not more than $10, provided the aggregate value of things provided in a year does not exceed $50; Training provided by a vendor for a product purchased by the state offered to all customers of such vendor; Benefits customarily provided by a prospective employer; Expenses of a public official paid by the party committee of which party such official is a member. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-79.

Delaware

No state officer shall accept any compensation, gift, payment of expenses or any other thing of monetary value under circumstances in which such acceptance may result in any of the following: (1) Impairment of independence of judgment in the exercise of official duties; (2) An undertaking to give preferential treatment to any person; (3) The making of a governmental decision outside official channels; or (4) Any adverse effect on the confidence of the public in the integrity of the government of the State. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 5806.

“Gift” means a payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering or deposit of money, services or anything of value unless consideration of equal or greater value is received. “Gift” shall not include a political contribution otherwise reported as required by law, a commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business, or a gift received from a spouse or any relative within the 3rd degree of consanguinity of the person or person's spouse or from the spouse of any such relative. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 5812.

District of Columbia

No registrant or anyone acting on behalf of a registrant shall offer, give, or cause to be given a gift or service to an official in the legislative or executive branch or a member of his or her staff that exceeds $100 in value in the aggregate in any calendar year. No official may solicit or accept the same. D.C. Code Ann. § 1-1162.31.

An entity of the D.C. government may accept and use a gift or donation if: the Mayor approves; and the entity uses the gift or donation to carry out authorized functions or duties. The Council of D.C. and the courts may accept and use gifts without prior approval. Each government entity shall keep records of any gift or donation, and shall make such records available for audit and public inspection. D.C. Code Ann. § 1-329.01.

Florida

No public officer or candidate shall solicit or accept anything of value to the recipient based upon any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the public officer or candidate would be influenced. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 112.313.

“Gift” means that which is accepted by a donee or by another on the donee's behalf, or that which is paid or given to another for or on behalf of a donee, directly, indirectly, or in trust for the donee's benefit or by any other means, for which equal or greater consideration is not given within 90 days. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 112.312.
 
“Gift” does not include: Salary, benefits, etc. associated primarily with the donee's employment, business, or service as an officer or director of a corporation or organization. Political contributions or expenditures properly reported. An honorarium or an expense related to an event paid to a person or the person's spouse. A personalized item given in recognition of the donee's service. An honorary membership in a service or fraternal organization. The use of a public facility or property, made available by a governmental agency, for a public purpose. Transportation provided by an agency in relation to officially approved governmental business. Gifts provided directly or indirectly by an organization which promotes the exchange of ideas between, or the professional development of, governmental officials or employees, and whose membership is primarily composed of elected or appointed public officials or staff. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 112.312.

Georgia

If a gift is conveyed or transferred for the purpose of influencing the nomination for election or election of any person for office, bringing about the recall of a public officer holding elective office or opposing the recall of a public officer holding elected office, or the influencing of voter approval or rejection of a proposed constitutional amendment, state wide-referendum, or proposed ballot question, then it shall be considered a "contribution" and be subject to all of the disclosure requirements, limitations, and prohibitions that apply to other types of contributions. Ga. Code Ann. § 21-5-3.

No restrictions were found for gifts that do not qualify as contributions. 

“Gift” means any gratuitous transfer to a public officer or any member of the family of the public officer or a loan of property or services which is not a contribution and which is more than $100. Ga. Code Ann. § 21-5-3.

Guam

No employee shall solicit, accept, or receive any gift valued over $200 from a single source, regardless of form, when a reasonable person would infer that the gift is intended to influence the employee in the performance of that individual's official duties or is intended as a reward for any official action on that individual's part. 4 G.C.A. § 15201.

No definition or exceptions specified by statute were found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may further define "gift" or provide for exceptions. Definitions and exceptions may also be inferred from the statute's prohibiting language.

Hawaii

No legislator or employee shall solicit, accept, or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift, whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing, or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it can reasonably be inferred that the gift is intended to influence the legislator or employee in the performance of the legislator's or employee's official duties or is intended as a reward for any official action on the legislator's or employee's part. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 84-11.

Every legislator and employee shall file a gifts disclosure statement with the state ethics commission year if all the following conditions are met: (1) The legislator or employee, or spouse or respective dependent child, received from one source any gifts valued in aggregate over $200; (2) The source of gifts have interests that may be affected by action by the legislator or employee; and (3) The gift is not exempted reporting requirements. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 84-11.5.

Excluded from reporting requirements: Gifts received by will or intestate succession; Gifts from any relative within 4 degrees, unless any such person is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph; Lawful political campaign contributions; Anything available to the public; Gifts that are returned to the giver or delivered to a public body or to an educational or charitable organization without the donation being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes; and Exchanges of approximately equal value on holidays, birthday, or special occasions. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 84-11.5.

Idaho

No legislator or public servant shall solicit, accept or agree to accept any pecuniary benefit in return for action on a bill, legislation, proceeding or official transaction from any person known to be interested in a bill, legislation, official transaction or proceeding. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-1356.

This section shall not apply to: fees or any other benefit for which the recipient gives legitimate consideration or to which he is otherwise legally entitled; gifts or benefits conferred on account of personal, professional or business relationship independent of the official status of the receiver; trivial benefits not over $50 involving no substantial risk of undermining impartiality; benefits received as a result of lobbying activities properly disclosed. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-1356.

Illinois

Except as otherwise provided, no officer, member, or State employee shall solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source. Applies to and includes household members. No prohibited source shall intentionally offer or make a gift that violates this Section. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 430/10-10.

Exceptions to the ban on gifts: Stuff available on the same conditions as for the general public. Any lawful political contribution. Educational materials and missions. Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss State business. A gift from a relative. Anything provided on the basis of a personal friendship. Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a single day; provided that the food or refreshments are consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared or catered. Benefits resulting from the outside business or employment activities. Intra-governmental and inter-governmental gifts. Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death. Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any year having a cumulative total value of less than $100. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 430/10-15.

Indiana

A lobbyist may not make a gift with a value of $50 or more to a legislative person unless the lobbyist receives the consent of the person before the gift is made. The lobbyist must inform the person of the cost of the gift at the time the lobbyist seeks consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-5-8.

A lobbyist may not pay for or reimburse for travel expenses of a legislative person for travel outside Indiana for any purpose. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-5-9.

Exception to $50 gift prohibition: gifts made between relatives. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-5-8.

Exception to the travel expense prohibition: expenses associated with travel paid for by an organization or corporation of which the legislative person or spouse is an officer, member of the board of directors, employee, or independent contractor. Ind. Code Ann. § 2-7-5-9.

Iowa

A public official, employee, or candidate, or that person's immediate family member shall not receive or solicit any gift from a restricted donor. A restricted donor shall not offer or make a gift to a public official, employee, or candidate. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.22.

An organization or association which has as one of its purposes the encouragement of the passage, defeat, introduction, or modification of legislation shall not give and a member of the general assembly shall not receive food, beverages, registration, or scheduled entertainment with a per person value in excess of three dollars. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.22.

“Gift” means a rendering of anything of value in return for which legal consideration of equal or greater value is not given and received. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.2.

Exception: if a nonmonetary gift is donated within 30 days to a public body, the department of administrative services, or a educational or charitable organization. All items donated to the department of administrative services shall be disposed of by state agencies for official use or by public sale. Must report the gift. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.22.

Exceptions: Contributions to a candidate or a candidate's committee. Informational material relevant to official functions. Gifts from family. An inheritance. Anything free to the public or fellow members of a qualifying organization. Actual expenses for food, beverages, registration, travel, and lodging for a meeting, given in return for participation. Items of negligible value given as recognition for the public service. Food and beverages at an event at which the recipient is being honored for public service. Nonmonetary items with a value of $3 or less received from any 1 donor during 1 day. Items or services solicited by, received or given to a government organization in which the state is a member for purposes of a business or educational conference, seminar, or other meeting. Funeral flowers or memorials to a church or nonprofit. Gifts for a wedding or 25th or 50th wedding anniversary. Payment by an employer for the cost of attending a meeting of a subunit of an agency if the person serves on a subunit of the agency and the person is not entitled to receive compensation or reimbursement of expenses from the state or a political subdivision. Gifts of food, beverages, travel, or lodging received by a public official or public employee, under qualifying conditions. Gifts received from a person who is a citizen of a country other than the United States during a ceremonial presentation or as a result of a custom of the other country and are of personal value only to the donee. Actual registration costs for informational meetings or sessions. Iowa Code Ann. § 68B.22.

Kansas

No state officer, employee or candidate shall accept or agree to accept, and no special interest shall offer or give, any thing valued at $40 or more in a calendar year, or hospitality in the form of recreation with an aggregate value $100 per year with a person known to have a special interest in the performance of their official duties. No person licensed, inspected, or regulated by an agency shall offer or give any thing valued aggregately at $40 or more in a year to such agency, or employee or officer thereof. No person with a special interest shall offer, pay, give, or make any: economic opportunity, gift, loan, gratuity, etc. valued over $40 per year; or, hospitality valued at $100 or more per year with a major purpose of influencing such officer or employee or candidate in the performance of official duties. Applies to members of the judicial branch as well. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237.

No person subject to the provisions of this section shall solicit or accept any gift, economic opportunity, loan, gratuity, special discount or service provided because of such person's official position. Shall not accept or solicit free or discount meals or travel from a source outside state government, subject to exceptions. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237a.

Food and beverages as hospitality not presumed to be given to influence a state officer or employee, or candidate, except where a particular course of action is a condition for the hospitality. Gift limits and prohibitions do not apply to: lawful campaign contributions; commercial transactions generally available to the public; gifts from governmental agencies of foreign nations, although if aggregate value is $100 or more, shall be accepted on behalf of the state. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237.

Exceptions include: A gift having an aggregate value of less than $40 given at a ceremony or public function where the gift is accepted within an official capacity; gifts from relatives or personal friends obviously not given because of official position; anything of value received on behalf of the state; contributions solicited on behalf of a nonprofit. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237a.

Exceptions to meal solicitation/receipt prohibition: Meals provided through a personal or family relationship or at events widely attended; meals provided at public events while attending in an official capacity; meals not provided because of official position; food such as soft drinks, coffee or snack foods not offered as part of a meal; value is $40 or less; meals provided when presence at the event or meeting at which the meal is provided serves a legitimate and relevant state purpose or interest; any meal provided by a lobbyist if reported by the lobbyist, except when a particular course of official action to be followed is a condition of accepting the meal. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237a.

Travel prohibition exceptions: the free or discount travel and related expenses are not provided because official position; when presence at a meeting, seminar or event serves a legitimate state purpose or interest and the person's agency would authorize payment for such travel and expenses. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 46-237a.

Kentucky

A legislator or his spouse shall not solicit, accept, or agree to accept anything of value from a legislative agent or an employer. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.751.

General prohibition on honoraria if unless related to the legislator's employment outside the Assembly and unrelated to his or her office. Reimbursement for expenses, however, subject to approval. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.747.

“Anything of value” includes a gift. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.611.

“Anything of value” does not include:  A lawfully reported campaign contribution; goods or services extended to a legislator by an employer or person other than a legislative agent; a usual and customary loan made in the ordinary course of business; commemorative token of less than $150 value; promotional items of less than $50; educational or informational items; cost of attendance or participation, and food and beverages consumed at events, if all members of the Senate, House, a caucus by the Legislative Research Commission, an event sponsored or coordinated by a government entity, or a task force are invited, or if a legislator receives prior approval from the Legislative Research Commission; gifts from immediate family or household members; an unused and returned or donated gift; cost of attending an event by a civic, charitable, governmental, trade association, or community organization; gifts between assembly members; services spontaneously provided in an emergency situation. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 6.611.

Louisiana

No public servant shall receive anything of economic value, other than compensation and benefits from the governmental entity to which he is duly entitled, for the performance of the duties and responsibilities of his office or position. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1111.

No public servant shall solicit or accept any thing of economic value as a gift or gratuity from any person, if such person: Has or is seeking business or financial relationships with the public servant's agency, or Is seeking, for compensation, to influence the passage or defeat of legislation by the public servant's agency. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1115.

No public employee shall solicit or accept anything of economic value as a gift or gratuity from any person if such employee knows or reasonably should know that such person: Conducts operations or activities which are regulated by the public employee's agency. Has substantial economic interests which may be substantially affected by the public employee's official duty. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1115.

No person from whom a public servant is prohibited from receiving a thing of economic value shall give to such a public servant any food, drink, or refreshment the total value of which exceeds $50 for a single event. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1115.1.

“Thing of economic value” means money or any other thing of economic value, except promotional items of no substantial value; pharmaceutical samples, medical devices, medical foods, and infant formulas provided to an appropriate public employee for administration to a patient at no cost; food, drink, or refreshments, incidental transportation and entertainment, while a personal guest, and, reasonable transportation when organized for educational or informational purposes, including food and drink, and includes but is not limited to: A loan, except a loan made by a licensed lending institution at the normal rate of interest, any property interest, interest in a contract, merchandise, service, and any arrangement involving a right to compensation. An option to obtain a thing of economic value. Any promise or undertaking of a thing of value. Shall not include salary and benefits due to public employment or the office held. Salary and benefits of higher education institutions. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1102.

Exception for prohibition against receipt of food, drink, or refreshment over $50: A gathering related to a national, regional or statewide organization provided at least 10 persons associated with the organization are invited. La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1115.1. A list of exceptions that is too long to effectively replicate or summarize here is available at La. Stat. Ann. § 42:1123.

Maine

A conflict of interest exists if: a Legislator or a member of a Legislator's immediate family accepts gifts, other than campaign contributions duly recorded as required by law, from persons affected by legislation or who have an interest in an entity affected by proposed legislation and the Legislator knows or reasonably should know that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the Legislator in the performance of the Legislator's official duties or vote or is intended as a reward for action on the Legislator's part. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 1014.

“Gift” means anything of value, including forgiveness of an obligation or debt, given to a person without that person providing equal or greater consideration to the giver. “Gift” does not include: Gifts from a single source during a reporting period with an aggregate value of $300 or less; An inheritance; A gift received from a relative or on the basis of a personal friendship, but not from a lobbyist; A subscription to a news publication; Legal services provided in a matter of legislative ethics; a prayer breakfast; A meal provided by industry or special interest organizations as part of the informational program presented to a group of public servants. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 1012.

Maryland

An official or employee may not solicit any gift. An official may not directly solicit or facilitate solicitation of a gift, on behalf of another, from an individual regulated lobbyist. An official or employee may not knowingly accept a gift from an entity that the official or employee knows or has reason to know: does or seeks to do any business with the official's or employee's governmental unit; engages in an activity regulated or controlled by the official's or employee's governmental unit; has a financial interest that may be affected substantially and materially by the performance or nonperformance of the official's or employee's official duties; is a regulated lobbyist with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the official or employee. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-505.

An official or employee may accept a(n unsolicited) gift unless: the gift would tend to impair the impartiality and independent judgment or is of significant value; the gift would give the appearance of impairing impartiality and independent judgment; the official or employee has reason to believe that the gift is designed to impair impartiality and independent judgment. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-505.

Exceptions: food or beverages received and consumed by the official in the presence of the donor or sponsoring entity as part of a meal or reception to which all members of a legislative unit were invited; food or beverages received from a donor or sponsoring entity, other than an individual regulated lobbyist, during a period when the General Assembly is not in session, within a county that contains the member's district; food or beverages received at a meeting of a legislative organization for which the member's presiding officer has approved the member's attendance at State expense; ceremonial gifts or awards of insignificant monetary value; unsolicited gifts from a lobbyist that are not meals or alcoholic beverages and that do not exceed $20; trivial gifts of informational value; in return for participation on a panel or a speaking engagement, reasonable expenses, except if paid by a lobbyist and are anticipated to exceed $500, shall notify the appropriate advisory body before attending the meeting; reasonable expenses to attend a legislative conference approved by the member's presiding officer; tickets or free admission extended from the person sponsoring or conducting the event, as a courtesy or ceremony to the office, to attend a charitable, cultural, or political event; gifts exempted by the Ethics Commission on a written finding that acceptance would not be detrimental to the impartial conduct of government and the gift is purely personal and private in nature; a gift from a relative or household member. Md. Gen. Provis. § 5-505.

Massachusetts

No state employee shall receive or request compensation from anyone other than the commonwealth or a state agency, in relation to any matter in which the commonwealth or a state agency is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. No person shall knowingly promise or offer such compensation. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 268A, § 4. Giving, promising or offering, or demanding, asking, soliciting, or accepting a gift with corrupting intent is punishable by a fine of no more than $100,000 and 10 years imprisonment and permanent disqualification from holding office. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 268A, § 2.

No definition or exceptions specified by statute were found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may further define "gift" or provide for exceptions. Definitions and exceptions may also be inferred from the statute's prohibiting language.

Michigan

A public officer or employee shall not solicit or accept a gift or loan of any thing of value for the benefit of a person or organization, other than the state, which tends to influence the public officer or employee. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.342.

“Gift” means a rendering of anything of value which exceeds $25.00 in any 1-month period, unless consideration of equal or greater value is exchanged. Includes anything to aid the defense of an official against legal action not directly related to the governmental duties of the official. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.414.

Gift does not include: A campaign contribution otherwise reported. A loan made in the normal course of business by a financial institution, in the normal course of business. A gift from a family member. Food and beverage provided for immediate consumption. A contribution to a registered legal defense fund whose purpose is to defend an elected official against any action that arises from an official's governmental duties. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 4.414.

Minnesota

A lobbyist or principal may not give a gift or request another to give a gift to an official. An official may not accept a gift from a lobbyist or principal. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.071.

“Gift” means money, property, a service, a loan, forbearance or forgiveness of indebtedness, or promise of future employment, without consideration of equal or greater value in return. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.071.

Exceptions: a political contribution; services to assist in the performance of official duties; services of insignificant monetary value; a plaque, trinket, informational material, or memento with a value of $5 or less; food or a beverage at a reception, meal, or meeting if held away from a recipient's place of work by an organization before whom a recipient appears to make a speech or answer questions as part of a program, or an invitation to attend was provided to all members; if the gift is given because of the recipient's membership in a group and an equivalent gift is given to the other members, or by a lobbyist or principal who is a family member. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 10A.071.

Mississippi

No public servant shall use his official position to obtain, or attempt to obtain, pecuniary benefit for himself other than that compensation provided for by law, or to obtain, or attempt to obtain, pecuniary benefit for any relative or any business with which he is associated. Miss. Code. Ann. § 25-4-105.

“Anything of value” means: A pecuniary item; A promissory note for the payment of money; An obligation for a transfer of money; An investment interest; A receipt for the payment of money or property; A right in action; A gift, tangible good, chattel or interest in one; A loan or forgiveness of indebtedness; A work of art, antique or collectible; A means of personal transportation; Real property or an interest in real property, including title to realty, a fee simple or partial interest, present or future, contingent or vested within realty, a leasehold interest, or other beneficial interest in realty; An honorarium or compensation for services; A rebate or discount, unless made in the ordinary course of business without regard to that status as a public official or employee, or the sale or trade of something for reasonable compensation that would ordinarily not be available to a member of the public; A promise of employment; Any other thing of value; A payment that directly benefits an executive, legislative or public official or public employee or a member of that person's immediate family. Miss. Code. Ann. § 5-8-3.

“Anything of value” does not mean: Informational material informing an executive, legislative or public official or public employee of her or his official duties; A commemorative item which has little pecuniary value; Food and beverages for immediate consumption provided by a lobbyist up to a value of $10.00 in the aggregate during any calendar year; Campaign contributions lawfully reported. Miss. Code. Ann. § 5-8-3.

Missouri

No elected or appointed official or employee shall: Act or refrain from acting by reason of payment, offer to pay, promise to pay, or receipt of anything of actual pecuniary value, including any gift as a condition of the performance of an official act. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.452.

 

No person serving as a member of or employed by the general assembly shall accept directly or indirectly a gift of any tangible or intangible item, service, or thing of value from any paid lobbyist or lobbyist principal over $5 per occurrence. The dollar limitations of this section shall be increased or decreased each year by the percentage of increase or decrease from the end of the previous calendar year of the Consumer Price Index, or successor index as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, or its successor agency, and rounded to the nearest dollar amount. MO Const. Art. 3, § 2.

“Expenditure” includes any gift, honorarium or item of value bestowed including any food or beverage; any price, charge or fee which is waived, forgiven, reduced or indefinitely delayed; any loan or debt which is canceled, reduced or otherwise forgiven; the transfer of any item with a reasonably discernible cost or fair market value from one person to another or provision of any service or granting of any opportunity for which a charge is customarily made, without charge or for a reduced charge. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.470.

“Expenditure” shall not include: gifts to family unrelated to lobbying; Informational material informing a public official regarding duties, or souvenirs or mementos valued at less than $10; Campaign contributions; Any loan accommodations granted in the regular ordinary scope and course of business, generally available to the public; Any thing of de minimis value offered to the general public, if the grant of the thing is not motivated by the recipient's status as a public official or staff member, employee, spouse or dependent child of a public official; The transfer of any item, provision of any service or granting of any opportunity when such item, service or opportunity is necessary to perform a duty in his or her official capacity, including but not limited to entrance fees to any venue when the official or employee is participating therein; Anything of value bestowed to any public official or staff member, employee, spouse or dependent child when given as an employment benefit and when employment is in addition to employment as a public official. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 105.470.

 

Exception to MO Const. Art. 3, § 2: gifts, family support or anything of value from those related within the 4th degree by blood or marriage. MO Const. Art. 3, § 2.

Montana

A public officer, legislator, or public employee may not: accept a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift that would tend improperly to influence or is primarily for the purpose of rewarding the person for official action taken. 

“Gift of substantial value” means a gift with a value of $50 or more for an individual. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-102. An economic benefit tantamount to a gift includes a loan at a rate of interest substantially lower than the commercial rate and compensation for private services rendered at a rate substantially exceeding the fair market value. Campaign contributions reported as required are not gifts or economic benefits tantamount to gifts. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-104.

"Gift of substantial value" does not include: a gift not used and returned or delivered to a charity or the state and is not claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes; food and beverages consumed when participation in a charitable, civic, or community event bears a relationship to the public officer's or public employee's office or employment; educational material directly related to official governmental duties; an award publicly presented in recognition of public service; educational activity that does not place or appear to place the recipient under obligation, clearly serves the public good, and is not lavish or extravagant. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-102.

Nebraska

No principal, lobbyist, or person acting on behalf of either shall, within one month, give gifts with an aggregate value of more than $50 to an official, a member of the official's staff or an immediate family member in the legislative branch of state government. No official or member of the official's staff in the executive or legislative branch of state government or member of the official's immediate family shall, within 1 month, accept from a principal, lobbyist, or person acting on behalf of either, gifts with an aggregate value of more than $50. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49-1490.

Gift shall mean a payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering, or deposit of money, services, or anything of value, unless consideration of equal or greater value is given therefor. Gift shall not include a campaign contribution otherwise reported as required, a commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business, a gift received from a relative, a breakfast, luncheon, dinner, or other refreshments consisting of food and beverage provided for immediate consumption, or the occasional provision of transportation within Nebraska. Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 49-1423.

Nevada

A public officer or employee shall not approve, disapprove, vote, abstain from voting or otherwise act upon a matter regarding which the public officer or employee has accepted a gift or loan. Must also disclose the gift or loan. A public officer shall not vote upon or advocate the passage or failure of, but may otherwise participate in the consideration of, a matter with respect to which the independence of judgment of a reasonable person in the public officer's situation would be materially affected by: The public officer's acceptance of a gift or loan. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281A.420.

A public officer or employee shall not seek or accept any gift, service, favor, employment, engagement, emolument or economic opportunity, from whom the officer or employee has a commitment, which would tend improperly to influence to depart from the discharge of public duties. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281A.400.

No disclosure of gift or loan required if: Any properly reported campaign contributions or a legal defense fund. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 281A.420.

New Hampshire

It shall be unlawful to give any gift to any elected official, public official, public employee, or constitutional official, or any family member with a purpose of influencing or affecting the official conduct of such official or employee. No elected official, public official, public employee, or constitutional official shall knowingly accept, directly or indirectly, any gift. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-B:3.

“Gift” means: Money; Any tangible thing, intangible thing, service, or the use thereof if not of insignificant value, having an economic value of less than $25 is presumed to be insignificant. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-B:2.

“Gift” shall not include: A political contribution. A commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business. Repayment to an elected official, public official, public employee, or constitutional official of a loan made by such a person. A commemorative object, personally inscribed to the recipient with an economic value of $150 or less is presumed insignificant. Objects or services which primarily serve an informational purpose provided in the ordinary course of business. Anything if donor’s act of giving is purely private and personal in nature. Wages, salary, benefits, mileage, or payment for expenses received through the regular course of employment or business unrelated to government position. Wages, salary, benefits, mileage, or payment for expenses paid to the person by the state, a county, or the United States of America related to performance of official duties. Tickets or free admission to a charitable, ceremonial, or political event, provided that proceeds are subject to political contributions and expenditure reporting law, or the event is sponsored by a charitable organization. Meals, beverages, lodging, or transportation associated with attendance at any event for which the primary significance is ceremonial or celebratory, provided the event is public or, if by invitation only, is planned to have an attendance greater than 50 people, any event where the person is attending in an official capacity representing the state or the agency of which the person is a member. Expense reimbursement or an honorarium. Meals and beverages consumed at a meeting or event, the purpose of which is to discuss official business. Awards or recognition issued under the suggestion and extraordinary service award program. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-B:2.

New Jersey

Except when a lobbyist is a family member, may not give or offer any compensation, reward, employment, gift, honorarium, or other thing of value to an officer valuing over $250 in a year. Officers may not accept the same. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13C-21b & N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13D-24.1.

The prohibition shall not apply if given by a non-lobbyist in the course of employment by an employer other than the State. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:13C-21b.

New Mexico

No legislator or public officer or employee may request or receive, and no person may offer, any thing of value or promise thereof conditioned upon or given in exchange for promised performance of an official act. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16-3.
 
A state officer or employee or a candidate, or that person's family, shall not knowingly accept from a restricted donor, and a restricted donor shall not knowingly donate, a gift of a market value greater than $250. A lobbyist, the lobbyist's employer or a government contractor shall not donate gifts of an aggregate market value greater than $1,000 in a year to any 1 state officer or employee or candidate. A state officer or employee shall not solicit gifts for a charity from a business or corporation regulated by the agency for which the state officer or employee works and shall not otherwise solicit donations for a charity in such a manner that it appears that the purpose of the donor in making the gift is to influence the state officer or employee in the performance of an official duty. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16B-3.

“Gift” means any donation or transfer without commensurate consideration but does not include: any activity authorized by the Campaign Reporting Act; a gift motivated by a family or close personal relationship; compensation for services or investments, normal and reasonable in amount; payment for a sale or lease of property commensurate with the value of the services rendered; a loan made in the ordinary course of business; reimbursement for expenses incurred in the course of performing a service; any gift accepted on behalf of and to be used by the state; anything for which fair market value is paid or reimbursed; reasonable expenses for an educational program directly related to official duties; or a retirement gift. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16B-2.
 
“Restricted donor” means a person who: is or is seeking to be a party to any sales, purchases, leases or contracts to, from or with the agency in which the donee holds office or is employed; will be directly and substantially affected by the donee's official duty in a way greater than the effect on the public generally; is personally the subject of or party to a matter pending before a regulatory agency and over which the donee has discretionary authority; or is a lobbyist or a client of a lobbyist with respect to matters within the donee's jurisdiction. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 10-16B-2.

New York

No individual or entity required to be listed on a statement of registration shall offer or give a gift to any public official, or his or her family, unless under the circumstances it is not reasonable to infer that the gift was intended to influence such public official. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-m.

“Compensation” shall mean any salary, fee, gift, payment, benefit, loan, advance or any other thing of value paid, owed, given or promised to the lobbyist by the client for lobbying but shall not include contributions reportable pursuant to article fourteen of the election law. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

“Gift” shall mean anything of more than nominal value given to a public official in any form including, but not limited to money, service, loan, travel, lodging, meals, refreshments, entertainment, discount, forbearance, or promise, having a monetary value. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

The following are excluded from the definition of a gift: complimentary attendance, including food and beverage, at charitable or political events; complimentary attendance, food and beverage offered by the sponsor of a widely attended event. Awards, plaques, and other ceremonial items customarily presented in recognition of public service. An honorary degree. Promotional items having no substantial resale value. Goods and services offered to the general public. Gifts from a family or household member, or person with a personal relationship. Political contributions. Travel, meals and accommodations for an attendee, panelist or speaker at an informational event or meeting when made by a governmental entity or by an in-state accredited institution of higher education that hosts the event on its campus. Provision of local transportation to inspect or tour facilities, operations or property located in New York state. Meals or refreshments when participating in a professional or educational program provided to all participants. Food or beverage valued at $15 or less. N.Y. Legis. Law § 1-c.

North Carolina

No lobbyist or lobbyist principal may knowingly give a gift to a designated individual or with the intent that a designated individual be an ultimate recipient. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-307.

Shall not ask, accept, demand, exact, solicit, seek, assign, receive, or agree to receive anything of value in return for being influenced in the discharge of official responsibilities. May not solicit for a charitable purpose any thing of monetary value from any subordinate State employee. Shall not knowingly accept a gift from a lobbyist or lobbyist principal. Shall not knowingly accept a gift from liaison personnel. No public servant, legislator, or legislative employee shall accept a gift knowing the gift was obtained indirectly from a lobbyist, lobbyist principal, or liaison personnel. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-307.

No public servant shall knowingly accept a gift from a person whom: Is doing or is seeking to do business with the public servant's employing entity. Is engaged in activities regulated or controlled by the public servant's employing entity. Has financial interests that may be substantially and materially affected, in a manner distinguishable from the public generally, by the performance or nonperformance of official duties. No public servant shall accept a gift knowing the gift was obtained indirectly from a lobbyist or principal. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-212.

A prohibited gift shall be, and a permissible gift may be, promptly declined, returned, paid for at fair market value, or donated to charity or the State. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-212.

The offering or giving of a gift without corrupt intent shall not constitute a violation of the statutes related to bribery, but shall be subject to civil fines. Gifts made to a nonpartisan legislative organization of which the General Assembly is a member or a legislator or legislative employee is a member or participant of by virtue of that legislator's or legislative employee's public position shall not constitute a violation. Gifts made to a nonpartisan organization of which a public servant's agency is a member or a public servant is a member or participant of by virtue of that public servant's public position, or to an affiliated organization of that nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization, shall not constitute a violation. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-307.

Exceptions: Food and beverages for immediate consumption in connection with a qualifying meeting; Informational materials relevant to the duties of the covered person or legislative employee; Reasonable actual expenditures in connection with attendance or participation at a qualifying event; a nonmonetary memento recognizing services in a field or specialty or to a charitable cause; Gifts accepted on behalf of, for use by, or for the benefit of the State; anything generally made available or distributed to the general public; Gifts from extended family; Gifts not otherwise subject to an exception, where the gift is associated with the public business of industry recruitment, promotion of international trade, or the promotion of travel and tourism, and the public servant is responsible for conducting the business on behalf of the State, subject to additional conditions; Gifts valued at less than $100 given in the commission of official duties if given as a customary personal gift in another country as part of an overseas trade mission; Gifts given or received as part of a relationship provided the relationship is not related public service or position and made under circumstances that a reasonable person would conclude that the gift was not given to lobby; Food and beverages for immediate consumption and related transportation provided that the food, beverage, or transportation is given by a principal and not a lobbyist, and the food, beverage, or transportation is provided during an event and is available to all attendees of the same class as the recipient; Food and beverages for immediate consumption at an organized gathering to which a public servant is invited for purposes related to service or position, and to which at least 10 individuals attend, or to which all shareholders, employees, board members, etc. who are located in a specific office or county are invited. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 163A-212.

North Dakota

It is unlawful for any person to give or agree to give any valuable thing to any person for passage or defeat of any measure before the legislature contingent on successful passage or defeat of a measure, or to attempt to influence any member of the legislative assembly without first making known to such member the real and true interest that the person has in such measure, either personally or financially or as agent or attorney. N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 54-05.1-06.

When any lobbyist offers a gift of a non-information-bearing nature to a legislator, the lobbyist shall, upon request, supply the cost of the gratuity and allow the legislator to pay the cost of and receive the gift. N.D. Cent. Code Ann. § 54-05.1-05.

No definition or exceptions specified by statute were found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may further define "gift" or provide for exceptions. Definitions and exceptions may also be inferred from the statute's prohibiting language.

Ohio

No public official or employee shall use or authorize the use of the authority or influence to secure anything of value that manifests a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person's duties. No person shall promise or give to a public official or employee anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the public official or employee with respect to that person's duties. A public official or employee may accept travel, meals, and lodging or expenses or reimbursement of expenses in connection with events related to official duties if not of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 102.03.

No member of the general assembly shall accept any of the following from a legislative agent: A gift of any amount in the form of cash or the equivalent of cash, or a gift of any other thing of value whose value exceeds $75; More than $75 aggregated per year as payment for meals and other food and beverages, other than provided to the member at a meeting at which the member participates in a panel, seminar, or speaking engagement, at a meeting or convention of a national organization to which any state agency pays membership dues, or at a function to which all members of the general assembly or all members of either house are invited; A gift of any amount in the form of cash or the equivalent of cash, or a gift of any other thing of value whose value exceeds $75. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 102.031.

“Gift” does not include any contribution or any gifts of meals and other food and beverages or the payment of expenses incurred for travel to destinations either inside or outside this state that is received by a member of the general assembly and that is incurred in connection with the member's official duties. It is not a violation the member returns the amount received within 60 days. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 102.031.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law provides for the Ethics Commission to promulgate rules and regulations, which have the force and effect of statutes. Okla. Const. art. XXIX, § 3. Oklahoma statutes do not directly regulate gifts.

Oklahoma law provides for the Ethics Commission to promulgate rules and regulations, which have the force and effect of statutes. Okla. Const. art. XXIX, § 3. Oklahoma statutes do not directly regulate gifts.

Oregon

During a calendar year, a public official, a candidate or relative or household member may not solicit or receive any gifts with an aggregate value over $50 from any single source with a legislative or administrative interest. A person with a legislative or administrative interest may not offer the same. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.025.

“Gift” means something of economic value given to a public official, a candidate or a relative or household member of the public official or candidate without consideration of equivalent value, including the forgiveness of indebtedness not extended to others on the same terms and conditions, or for valuable consideration less than that required from others who are not public officials or candidates. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.020.

“Gift” does not mean: Contributions. Gifts from relatives or household members of an official or candidate. An unsolicited token or award of appreciation with a resale value less than $25. Informational or program material related to recipient's official duties. Admission or food or beverage consumed at a reception, meal or meeting held by an organization when the official represents state government, a local government or a special government body. Reasonable expenses paid by any unit of government, a membership organization to which a public body pays dues or a not-for-profit, for attendance at a convention, fact-finding mission or trip, conference or other meeting if scheduled to deliver a speech, make a presentation, participate on a panel or represent state government, a local government or a special government body. Contributions made to a legal expense trust fund for the benefit of the public official. Reasonable food, travel or lodging expenses when representing a governmental unit on an officially sanctioned trade-promotion or fact-finding mission, in officially designated negotiations, or economic development activities, where receipt of the expenses is approved in advance. Registration expenses or materials provided at a continuing education event to satisfy a professional licensing requirement. Expenses provided by a public official to another for travel inside this state to or from an event related to public office and at which the official participates in an official capacity. Food or beverage consumed at a reception, provided as an incidental part of the reception. Entertainment provided that is incidental to the main purpose of another event. Entertainment provided where the official is acting in an official capacity while representing a governmental unit for a ceremonial purpose. Anything of economic value as part of the usual and customary practice of the person's private business. Reasonable expenses paid to a public school employee for accompanying students on an educational trip. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.020.

Pennsylvania

No person shall offer or give to a public official, employee or nominee or candidate or associated person, anything of monetary value, including a gift, loan, political contribution, reward or promise of future employment based on the offeror's or donor's understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official or public employee or nominee or candidate for public office would be influenced thereby. Shall not accept the same. 65 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 1103.

“Gift.” Anything received without consideration of equal or greater value. The term shall not include a political contribution otherwise reportable as required by law or a commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business. The term shall not include hospitality, transportation or lodging. “Hospitality.” Includes all of the following: (1) Meals. (2) Beverages. (3) Recreation and entertainment. Hospitality does not include gifts, transportation, or lodging. 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 13A03.

Puerto Rico

No prohibition specified by statute was found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, provide for restrictions.

Gift. Any money, assets or objects, financial opportunity, gratuities, discounts or benefits. 3 L.P.R.A. § 1854.

Rhode Island
No person subject to this code of ethics, or spouse if not estranged, dependent child, or business associate, or associated business shall solicit or accept any gift, loan, political contribution, reward, or promise of future employment based on any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the person would be influenced thereby. RI ST § 36-14-5. No definition or exceptions specified by statute were found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may further define "gift" or provide for exceptions. Definitions and exceptions may also be inferred from the statute's prohibiting language.
South Carolina

A lobbyist shall not offer, solicit, facilitate, or provide any public official or any of their employees: lodging; transportation; entertainment; any thing of value; contributions. Any public official or any of their employees shall not solicit or receive the same from a lobbyist. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-80.

 

No lobbyist's principal may offer, solicit, facilitate, or provide to a public official or employee, and no public official or employee may accept lodging, transportation, entertainment, food, meals, beverages, or an invitation to a function paid for by a lobbyist's principal. No lobbyist's principal may provide to a public official or a public employee the value of lodging, transportation, entertainment, food, meals, or beverages exceeding $50 in a day and $400 in a calendar year. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-90.

 

Must disclose accepted gifts or anything else of value on statements of economic interests. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-90.

Exceptions: the furnishing of any thing of value which also is furnished on the same terms or at the same expense to a member of the general public; emergency assistance given gratuitously and in good faith; anything of value given to a family member. S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-80.

 

Exceptions: a function to which an entire membership is invited; activities reasonably related to economic development efforts, with prior written approval; S.C. Code Ann. § 2-17-90.

South Dakota

Any person who offers to make bribes of money or other inducements, offers or gives gifts or other types of consideration to any person for the purpose of obtaining sponsorship or introduction of legislation, influencing the form of legislation, attempting to influence any member of the Legislature to vote, or for or against any candidate, attempting to influence any officer in naming of members and officers of committees, or in the performance of any of his duties, or attempting to influence or control the action of any member in relation to any matter coming before the Legislature, or any of its committees is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. S.D. Codified Laws § 2-12-9. No public official and no member of the immediate family of a public official may accept from any lobbyist or principal any gifts with a cumulative value greater than $100 during any calendar year. S.D. Codified Laws § 2-12-16.

Gift, means anything of value, including any object, money, property, or service, that is given without compensation or remuneration. The term does not include: (1) Anything of value for which the recipient paid an equal or greater value; (2) Any contribution to a political committee that is regulated by the Federal Elections Commission or under chapter 12-27; (3) Any service or event to assist a public official in the performance of official duties, including any cost to educate or inform the public official on matters of public policy; any advice, information, consultation, or communication regarding actual or proposed legislation; any service to constituents or to promote the economic development of the state; (4) Any food, entertainment, or beverage provided for immediate consumption; (5) Anything of value exchanged between immediate family members; (6) The cost of admission to any state-owned facility or state-sponsored industry or event, if provided by the sponsoring state agency, political subdivision, or publicly funded institution; (7) Anything of value received due to membership in a group, the majority of whose membership is not comprised of public officials, if the object or other thing of value is also given to other members of that group or to other members who also serve as officers or directors of that group; or (8) Any scholarship, prize, or financial support awarded or supported by a principal for a program related to education, and widely available and generally awarded to qualifying members of the public, the majority of whom are not comprised of public officials or the immediate family of public officials. S.D. Codified Laws § 2-12-18.

Tennessee

No employer of a lobbyist, lobbyist or any person acting at the specific direction of an employer or lobbyist shall offer or attempt to offer anything of value to an official in the legislative or executive branch, or to the official's immediate family, based on any stated or tacit understanding that the official's vote, official action or judgment would be influenced thereby. No official in the legislative or executive branch, or staff member or immediate family, shall solicit or accept anything of value. No lobbyist shall make a loan to a candidate, official, or to anyone on their behalf. No candidate or official, or staff or family, shall solicit or accept such a loan. No lobbyist shall pay compensation for property or services substantially in excess of that charged in the ordinary course of business. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-304.

“Gift” means any payment, honorarium, subscription, loan, advance, forbearance, rendering or deposit of money or services, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received. “Gift” does not include a campaign contribution, a commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business, or a gift received from a member of the person's family. “Gift” does not include the waiver of a registration fee for a conference or educational seminar. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-301.

Exceptions: Benefits of outside activities not enhanced due to the status of the candidate or official; Informational materials in the form communication; Gifts for a nonbusiness purpose motivated by close personal friendship; tokens if routinely given in the ordinary course of business; Unsolicited tokens or awards in the form of a plaque, trophy, etc. in a form readily convertible to cash; Opportunities and benefits made available to all members of an appropriate class of the general public; Travel expenses, amenities, if paid by a governmental entity or established and recognized organization of government officials, staff of state government officials or both officials and staff, or any other established and recognized organization that is an umbrella organization for such officials, staff, or both officials and staff; If provided in connection with an in-state event to which invitations are extended to the entire membership of the general assembly when within 30 days, reported and does not exceed $50.00 per person per day; Food, refreshments, meals, or beverages provided by an employer of a lobbyist in connection with an in-state event, provided: value does not exceed $50 per event per day, no cumulative items worth more than $100 per year; Occasional or incidental local travel for which no fare is ordinarily charged. Tenn. Code Ann. § 3-6-305.

Texas

Lobbyists may not offer, confer, or agree to confer a gift of cash or a negotiable instrument, over $500 per year in the aggregate for gifts. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 305.024.

A gift may constitute bribery if it is an offer or gift in consideration for a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or exercise of discretion as a public servant. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 36.02.

Exceptions: gift of food or beverage required to be reported and of a value of $50 or less. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 305.024 & Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 305.0061.

Utah

A lobbyist, principal, or government officer may not make or offer to make aggregate daily expenditures that exceed: for food or beverage, the food reimbursement rate; or $10 for expenditures other than food or beverage. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-304.

 

It is an offense for a public officer or employee to receive, accept, take, seek, or solicit a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift that would tend improperly to influence that is primarily for the purpose of rewarding for official action taken; or if the officer or employee may be involved in any governmental action directly affecting the donor or lender, unless a disclosure of relevant information has been made. Utah Code Ann. § 67-16-5.

Definition of "expenditure" includes a gift. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-102.

 

A lobbyist, principal, or government officer may make aggregate daily expenditures that exceed the limits for the following items, if the expenditure is properly reported: food; beverage; travel; lodging; or admission to or attendance at a tour or meeting that is not an approved activity; or if the expenditure is made for a purpose solely unrelated to the public official's position as a public official. Utah Code Ann. § 36-11-304.

“Economic benefit tantamount to a gift” includes: a loan at an interest rate substantially lower than the commercial rate prevalent for similar loans; and compensation received for private services rendered at a rate substantially exceeding the fair market value of the services. Exceptions: an occasional nonpecuniary gift with a value of not in excess of $50; an award publicly presented in recognition of public services; any bona fide loan made in the ordinary course of business; or a political campaign contribution. Utah Code Ann. § 67-16-5.

Vermont

Prohibited conduct includes: a legislator or administrative official soliciting a gift, other than a contribution, from a registered employer or lobbyist, except for nonprofit charitable contributions. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 261.

Subject to lobbyist expenditure reporting requirements under Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 264.

"Expenditure" includes a gift. "Gift" means: a political contribution; anything of value bestowed for less than adequate consideration; a meal or alcoholic beverage; a ticket, fee, or expenses for or to any sporting, recreational, or entertainment events; a speaking fee or honorarium, except actual and reasonable travel expenses; a loan made on terms more favorable than those made generally available to the public in the normal course of business. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 261.

Virginia

May not accept a gift that reasonably tends to influence the performance of official duties or accept a gift from a person with interests substantially affected by the performance of official duties. Va. Code Ann. § 30-103.

No legislator or any family member may accept gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $100 per year. Excludes gifts with a value of less than $20 from counting toward the $100 limit. Also excluded from the prohibition if accepted while in attendance at an associated widely attended event, or a travel-related gift upon disclosure and approval. Va. Code Ann. § 30-103.1.

“Gift” means any item having monetary value. “Gift” does not include: any offer of admission or pass, unless used; honorary degrees; any financial aid awarded by an educational program pursuant to publicly applicable financial aid standards and procedures; a campaign contribution properly received and reported; any gift related to private profession, occupation or volunteer service; food or beverages at an event at which a filer is performing duties related to public service; food, beverages, registration or attendance fees waived for any event at which a filer is a featured speaker, presenter, or lecturer; unsolicited awards of appreciation or recognition; a devise or inheritance; travel disclosed; travel provided by a unit of government; travel provided to facilitate attendance at a regular or special session, a meeting of a legislative committee or commission, or a national conference approved by the appropriate Rules Committee; travel or any meal provided for attendance at a meeting by, a unit of the state or any charitable organization, to which such person has been appointed or elected or is a member by virtue of his office or employment; gifts with a value of less than $20; attendance at function where food that can be conveniently consumed while standing or walking are offered; gifts from relatives or personal friends. Va. Code Ann. § 30-101.

Virgin Islands

No prohibition specified by statute was found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may provide for restrictions.

No definition or exceptions specified by statute were found. Regulations, which were not reviewed for the purposes of this survey, may further define "gift" or provide for exceptions.

Washington

No state officer or employee may receive, accept, take, seek, or solicit, any thing of economic value as a gift, gratuity, or favor from a person if it would likely influence the vote, action, or judgment of the officer or employee, or be considered as part of a reward for action or inaction. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.52.140.

May not accept gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $50 from a single source in a year or a single gift from multiple sources with a value in excess of $50. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.52.150.

The following items are presumed not to influence, and may be accepted without regard to the $50 limit: Unsolicited plants; Unsolicited advertising or promotional items of nominal value; Unsolicited tokens or awards of appreciation; Unsolicited items received for the purpose of evaluation or review, if no personal beneficial interest in the use or acquisition of the item; Informational material related to the recipient's performance of official duties; Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions where attendance is related to official duties; Gifts for deposit in the legislative international trade account; Gifts for promoting the expansion of tourism; Gifts solicited on behalf of a national legislative association for the purpose of hosting an official conference, received by the association and not be commingled with any funds or accounts that are the property of any person; Admission related consumables at events with a civic, charitable, governmental, or community organization; Unsolicited gifts from foreign dignitaries intended to be personal in nature; and Gifts from any agency or private source. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.52.150.

West Virginia
A public official or employee may not solicit any gift unless for a charitable purpose with no resulting direct pecuniary benefit conferred upon the official, provided it not solicited from any person who is also an official or employee of the state and whose position is subordinate to the soliciting official or employee. No official or employee may accept any gift from a lobbyist or from whom: Is doing or seeking to do business of any kind with his or her agency; Is engaged in activities regulated or controlled by his or her agency; or has financial interests which may be substantially and materially affected, in a manner distinguishable from the public generally, by the performance or nonperformance of official duties. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-2-5.

Exception: lawful political contributions. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-2-5.

 

Presumption of a lawful gift that does not impair impartiality and independent judgment for: meals and beverages; ceremonial gifts or awards with insignificant monetary value; unsolicited gifts of nominal value; reasonable expenses for attending a meeting at which the official or employee participates; tickets or free admission to attend charitable, cultural, or political events if customary; personal and private gifts; gifts from household or family members. Upon prior approval, may solicit donations for a legislative organization function to be held in the state for the purpose of deferring state costs for hosting. Legislative organizations are bipartisan regional or national organizations in which the Joint Committee on Government and Finance authorizes payment of dues or other membership fees for the Legislature's participation and which assist this and other State Legislatures and their staff. W. Va. Code Ann. § 6B-2-5.

Wisconsin

No person may offer or give to a state public official, and no state public official may solicit or accept, anything of value if it could reasonably be expected to influence the state public official's vote, official actions or judgment, or could reasonably be considered as a reward for any official action or inaction on the part of the state public official. This subsection does not prohibit a state public official from engaging in outside employment. No state public official may use a public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for private benefit. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 19.45.

“Anything of value” means any money or property, favor, service, etc., but does not include compensation and expenses paid by the state, fees and expenses permitted and reported, reported political contributions, or hospitality extended for a purpose unrelated to state business by a person other than an organization. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 19.42.

 

“Gift” means the payment or receipt of anything of value without valuable consideration. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 19.42.

Wyoming

No public official, member or employee shall use office or position for the receipt of a gift which resulted from his holding that office. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 9-13-103.

“Gift” means anything of value to the extent that consideration of equal or greater value is not received.

Exceptions: Printed informational, educational or promotional material; An unused gift returned to the donor or a charity within 30 days; A gift, devise or inheritance from a family member or personal friend or business relationship motivated by reasons separate from public position, or from any person if of nominal value; A certificate, commemorative token or item, or plaque with a value that does not exceed $250.00; Food and beverage; Compensation received in the performance of services for the governmental entity; Any loan, gift, gratuity, special discount or hospitality with a value of $250.00 or less; Travel, registration and lodging for any conference or meeting while attending in an official capacity. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 9-13-102.