This question came into the Ask FELTG mailbag: I know there are prohibitions on gift-giving when it involves Federal employees, but are there any restrictions on gift-giving if two people who are friends also happen to be Federal employees

The source for all things gift-related is 5 CFR Part 2635, and Subpart C specifically relates to Gifts Between Employees. The main area of concern involves gift-giving when there’s a supervisor-subordinate relationship, and/or a discrepancy in pay. According to § 2635.302, an employee may not — directly or indirectly — accept a gift from an employee receiving less pay than himself unless:

  • The two employees are not in a subordinate-official superior relationship; and
  • There is a personal relationship between the two employees that would justify the gift.

Unless the friends work for the same agency, and one was the superior of the other, there is probably not an ethical concern about gift-giving if there are no ulterior motives.

If the two of you work for the same agency and there’s a superior-subordinate relationship, you’ll probably want to check with your agency’s Ethics office or Office of General Counsel if you have any concerns. [email protected]

Have a question? Ask FELTG.

The information presented is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contacting FELTG in any way/format does not create the existence of an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

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