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- Gift Ban - 6 of 25

Background

Article XXIX of the state constitution (commonly referred to as Amendment 41) establishes a "gift ban" that prohibits a member of the General Assembly from accepting a gift worth more than $59 from any one person in a given year.  There are 8 exceptions to the gift ban, including (provided for purposes of this scenario) an exception for the payment of reasonable expenses by a state or local government  or by a nonprofit entity that receives less than 5% of its funding from for-profit entities for attendance at a convention, fact-finding mission or trip, or other meeting.  In order to qualify for the exception, the recipient must be scheduled to speak, make a presentation, participate on a panel, or represent the state or local government.  The Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) has interpreted Amendment 41 as permitting  a covered individual to accept travel expenses from organizations whose mission is to bring policymakers together at conferences for networking and exchanging ideas, referred to as government exchange organizations (GEO), if the government entity pays membership dues to the GEO that are invoiced expressly to cover travel and other expenses to attend its events. See, IEC PS 10-01.

Hypothetical

Expenses paid by a government exchange organization for a legislator's attendance at a conference

You've just been asked by a representative of the National Association of State Legislatures (NASL) to participate on a one-hour panel discussion at their three-day fall forum in Washington D.C.  The NASL representative explains to you that NASL will pay for your airfare, hotel accommodations, and the cost of the registration to attend and participate in the conference. You learn that NASL is a nonprofit entity; however, you also learn that it receives substantially more than 5% of its annual funding from for-profit entities, despite the fact that states, including Colorado, pay substantial annual membership dues to NASL.

Question


May you accept payment of the airfare, hotel accommodations, and registration from NASL to attend the NASL Fall Forum in Washington D.C.?

Select No. Even though NASL is a nonprofit entity, you may not accept the gift of airfare, hotel accommodations, and registration since NASL receives more than 5% of its funding from for-profit sources.

Select Yes, so long as you disclose the value of what you receive in your quarterly gifts and honoraria report that you are required to file with the Secretary of State's office. 

Select Yes, because payment of your airfare, hotel accommodations, and registration is essentially payment of an honoraria for your participation on the panel discussion.

Select Yes, because NASL is a government exchange organization to which the state pays annual dues that are expressly invoiced to cover travel and expenses related to attendance at NASL events, consistent with the Independent Ethics Commission's PS 10-01.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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