The Holiday season is fast approaching. Remember, JLEC is available to answer questions regarding holiday gifts, receptions, or the giving of various cookies, fruit baskets, and other assorted treats. Please remember the following tips and guidance as you proceed through the holidays:
- Holiday gifts of $25 or more provided to legislators/staff by lobbyists or their employers are reported on Activity & Expenditure Reports. If a financial disclosure statement filer accepts a gift(s) valued at more than $25 from a lobbyist, they will report the lobbyist as the source of a gift on their 2015 financial disclosure statement.
- Legislators and their staff are prohibited from accepting more than $75 in gifts from a lobbyist aggregated per calendar year.
- Receptions/holiday parties where all legislators or all legislators of a particular chamber are invited are reported as any all-invited event would be.
- There are no “staff all-invited” events; these events accrue towards the $75 aggregated per year limit if hosted by lobbyists. Expenditures made on behalf, or for the benefit, of FDS filers are reportable according to standard reporting and disclosure guidelines.
Cookie trays, popcorn tins, and fruit baskets
- As long as these items are provided to the office (not an individual) and placed in a public area for staff, legislators, and visitors to enjoy and not converted to personal use, they need not be reported by the lobbyist or their client as gifts.
- An individual given a cookie tray by a lobbyist or their employer does not eliminate potential reporting merely by placing the gift in a public setting for all to enjoy. Depending upon the value, the individual may be subject to financial disclosure statement reporting as well as reporting by the lobbyist or lobbyist’s client.
- Items provided to a caucus or office (not an individual) that are converted to personal use (i.e. staff member re-gifts fruit basket to Grandma Betty) may be reportable. Also, converting the gift to personal use could put the legislator/ staffer over the $75.00 limit on what they can accept from a lobbyist.
- If the item is not provided by a lobbyist or their employer, but by an organization or entity that is not the employer of a lobbyist, a financial disclosure statement filer who converts the item to personal use may be required to disclose the source of the gift on their financial disclosure statement if it is valued at $75.00 or more.