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Gifts Received on Official Travel

Headnotes: 

Gifts given to United States employees by a Japanese government agency may be retained consistent with 5 U.S.C. § 7342 and implementing regulations if the items are worth less than $140. More valuable gifts must be deposited with the employing agency.

Gifts from private Japanese organizations are governed by 19 U.S.C. § 209(a). That statute, as consistently construed by the Department of Justice, makes it a crime to receive items of any value given as additional compensation for performing government service. The gifts from private Japanese organizations appear to have been given as a result of the federal employee’s official duties, and may not be accepted under § 209(a), and pursuant to the statute, must be returned to their donors.

In addition, Department of Justice conflict-of-interest regulations would independently prohibit acceptance of these gifts if the donors have litigation or financial business with the Department.

Updated July 9, 2014