House and Senate Restrictions on Gifts
Last Updated: 05/25/2010
The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) requires UGA to certify twice each year that the institution is familiar with Senate and House rules relating to the provisions of gift and travel and that UGA employees have not provided, requested or directed a gift, including travel, to a Member of Congress or staff with knowledge that the gift or travel may not be accepted under the law. These certifications are subject to potential civil or criminal penalties for knowing violations or false statements.
As it relates to members of Congress and their staff, the law provides that Members of Congress and Congressional staff may not accept ANY gift unless the gift falls under one of the narrow exceptions specifically set forth in the Congressional Gift Rule Guidance. One of those exceptions of particular applicability to UGA is for gifts paid by and on behalf of a State or Local Government. This exception means that as a general rule any gifts, meals, travel or entertainment provided by UGA or UGA officials to Members or Congress or staff are exempt from the gift rule ban.
UGA employees should note, however, that this exception for gifts provided by State or local governments applies to UGA as an institution only, and that a personal gift paid by an UGA employee with personal funds may be prohibited under the law, unless it fits within one of other exceptions to the Gift Rules. In addition, although this exception applies to UGA as a public university, UGA employees should be mindful that this exception applies to Congressional gift rules and that there are federal executive branch gift rules that restrict the type of gifts that may be offered to, or received by, federal executive branch employees.