Application of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution and the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act


The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits government employees from accepting any sort of payment from a foreign government, except with the consent of Congress. Congress has consented to the receipt of minimal gifts from a foreign state, 5 U.S.C. § 7342, but has not consented to receipt of compensation for services rendered.

The fact that an employee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be paid by an American consulting firm for services he rendered in connection with construction of a nuclear power plant in Mexico would not, under the circumstances presented here, avoid the Emoluments Clause, since the Mexican government would be the actual source of the payment.

Updated July 9, 2014