2 USC 31-2 - Gifts and travel
Sec. 31-2. Gifts and travel(a)
(1) No Member, officer, or employee of the Senate, or the spouse or dependent thereof, shall knowingly accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts in any calendar year aggregating more than the minimal value as established by section 7342 (a)(5) of title 5 or $250, whichever is greater  from any person, organization, or corporation unless, in an unusual case, a waiver is granted by the Select Committee on Ethics.
(2) The prohibitions of this subsection do not apply to gifts—
(A) from relatives;
(B) with a value of $100 or less, as adjusted under section 102(a)(2)(A) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978; or
(C) of personal hospitality of an individual.
(3) For purposes of this subsection—
(A) the term "gift" means a payment, subscription, advance, forbearance, rendering, or deposit of money, services, or anything of value, including food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment, and reimbursement for other than necessary expenses, unless consideration of equal or greater value is received, but does not include (1) a political contribution otherwise reported as required by law, (2) a loan made in a commercially reasonable manner (including requirements that the loan be repaid and that a reasonable rate of interest be paid), (3) a bequest, inheritance, or other transfer at death, (4) a bona fide award presented in recognition of public service and available to the general public, (5) a reception at which the Member, officer, or employee is to be honored, provided such individual receives no other gifts that exceed the restrictions in this rule, other than a suitable memento, (6) meals or beverages consumed or enjoyed, provided the meals or beverages are not consumed or enjoyed in connection with a gift of overnight lodging, or (7) anything of value given to a spouse or dependent of a reporting individual by the employer of such spouse or dependent in recognition of the service provided by such spouse or dependent; and
(B) the term "relative" has the same meaning given to such term in section 107(2) of title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (Public Law 95–521).
(4) If a Member, officer, or employee, after exercising reasonable diligence to obtain the information necessary to comply with this rule, unknowingly accepts a gift described in paragraph (1) such Member, officer, or employee shall, upon learning of the nature of the gift and its source, return the gift or, if it is not possible to return the gift, reimburse the donor for the value of the gift.
(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate may participate in a program, the principal objective of which is educational, sponsored by a foreign government or a foreign educational or charitable organization involving travel to a foreign country paid for by that foreign government or organization if such participation is not in violation of any law and if the select  Committee on Ethics has determined that participation in such program by Members, officers, or employees of the Senate is in the interests of the Senate and the United States.
(B) Any Member who accepts an invitation to participate in any such program shall notify the Select Committee in writing of his acceptance. A Member shall also notify the Select Committee in writing whenever he has permitted any officer or employee whom he supervises to participate in any such program. The chairman of the Select Committee shall place in the Congressional Record a list of all individuals, participating, the supervisors of such individuals where applicable;  and the nature and itinerary of such program.
(C) No Member, officer, or employee may accept funds in connection with participation in a program permitted under subparagraph (A) if such funds are not used for necessary food, lodging, transportation, and related expenses of the Member, officer, or employee.
Limits on domestic and foreign travel by Members and staff of Senate
The term "necessary expenses", with respect to limits on domestic and foreign travel by Members and staff of the Senate, means reasonable expenses for food, lodging, or transportation which are incurred by a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate in connection with services provided to (or participation in an event sponsored by) the organization which provides reimbursement for such expenses or which provides the food, lodging, or transportation directly. Necessary expenses do not include the provision of food, lodging, or transportation, or the payment for such expenses, for a continuous period in excess of 3 days exclusive of travel time within the United States or 7 days exclusive of travel time outside of the United States unless such travel is approved by the Committee on Ethics as necessary for participation in a conference, seminar, meeting or similar matter. Necessary expenses do not include the provision of food, lodging, or transportation, or the payment for such expenses, for anyone accompanying a Member, officer, or employee of the Senate, other than the spouse or child of such Member, officer, or employee of the Senate or one Senate employee acting as an aide to a Member.
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 See References in Text note below.
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Last modified: July 21, 2011