2016 Presidential Conventions: What Congress Members and Attendees Need to Know
July 28, 2016 | By: Avi D. Kelin, Esq.
With the 2016 presidential conventions underway and as the November presidential election draws near, this post is part of a series on what different entities and groups need to know about their political activity as the 2016 election approaches. This post examines congressional gift rules that may be implicated during the conventions. Congressional gift rules permit Members and staff who are convention delegates to attend convention events that are open to all convention delegates or to all delegates from their state or region. Generally, Members of the House of Representatives and their staff may accept any gift paid for by the host cities (in this case, Cleveland, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Additionally, a Member or staff person may accept a non-cash gift valued at less than $50 from any individual who is not a registered federal lobbyist, registered foreign agent, or an entity that employs or retains such individuals. Impermissible, however, is Member or staff acceptance of a gift, provided by the host city, that was specifically or informally designated by a donor for distribution to Members or staff. The following non-exhaustive list of gifts may not be given to or received by Members of the House of Representatives or their staff:
- Services; and
- Anything of monetary value except as provided in the rule.