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May 21, 2014
OGE Amendatory Rulemaking: Increased Gifts & Travel Reimbursements Reporting Thresholds as well as the Nonsponsor Widely Attended Gatherings Gift Exception Ceiling
The Office of Government Ethics has issued a final rule that amends the executive branch financial disclosure and standards of ethical conduct regulations. See 79 FR 28605-28606 (May 19, 2014) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-19/pdf/2014-11495.pdf. First, OGE has revised the executive branch financial disclosure regulation to reflect the statutory retroactive increase, applicable as of January 1, 2014, of the thresholds for reporting of gifts and travel reimbursements for both the public and confidential financial disclosure reports (OGE Form 278s and OGE Form 450s). The Ethics in Government Act and OGE regulations tie these increases to the General Services Administration’s recent increase in minimal value for purposes of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act notice in April of this year. See 79 FR 18477 (April 2, 2014). The new aggregation threshold for the reporting of gifts and reimbursements received from any one source on financial disclosure reports is “more than $375”; items worth “$150 or less” do not need to be counted towards that overall threshold.
The second part of OGE’s new rule has raised to $375 the maximum amount under the exception in the standards of conduct for nonsponsor gifts of free attendance at widely attended gatherings. This separate regulatory change became effective upon publication of the rulemaking document (May 19, 2014).