Loading
The Oregon Administrative Rules contain OARs filed through March 15, 2014
 
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTENT OR MEANING OF THIS AGENCY'S RULES?
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS RULES COORDINATOR CONTACT INFORMATION

OREGON GOVERNMENT ETHICS COMMISSION

 

DIVISION 5

GIFTS

199-005-0001

Definitions

The following definitions are provided for words or terms as they are used in ORS Chapter 244, especially in the exceptions to the definition of a gift in ORS 244.020(6)(b):

(1) “Entertainment” means amusement or diversion. Entertainment may be provided by others (such as athletes at sporting events) but also includes events where the public official, relative, or member of household personally participates. Examples of entertainment include, but are not limited to concerts, plays, movies, operas, sporting events, participating in sports (golf, skiing, hunting or fishing, etc), comedy shows, and similar events.

(2) A “fact finding mission or trip” is any activity related to a cultural or educational purpose, or any activity aimed at providing intergovernmental assistance, such as for the purpose of international aid or sharing best practices, or developing intergovernmental relationships directly related to the public official's duties. The sponsor of a fact finding mission should be directly and immediately associated with the event or location being visited.

(3) “Incidental” means secondary or minor, but associated to something more important. Anything with financial value provided in conjunction with a primary event but of secondary in importance to the time and attention to the main purpose of the event is incidental.

(4) A “Meeting” is an event that includes multiple attendees who are members of an organization or members of the general public who have been invited to the event. The purpose or agenda for the meeting would be included in any advance notice of the event.

(5) "Official capacity" means that the public official attends an activity while engaged in duties or responsibilities that are customary to their office or position.

(6) “Organization” means any public body, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, trust, or other entity other than an individual.

(7) “Representing Government” means that a public official is representing a state or local government or a special government body when the public official attends an event on behalf of the government agency. The following examples are offered to illustrate the meaning of “representing government,” but are not meant to be the only circumstances that would define representing government:

(a) A fire chief attends an event to honor protection services representatives and attends on behalf of the station in an official capacity.

(b) A department manager attends a conference being sponsored by a vendor that has in the past sold products to the agency in which the manager is employed. The manager’s official duties include the responsibility of attending conferences on behalf of the governing body.

(c) An executive director for a state agency attends ceremonial events; the director’s official duties include representing the agency at such events.

(d) A state employee who works in the IT department whose responsibilities include reviewing and recommending software attends a workshop on software applications held by a professional membership organization.

(e) A planning commissioner speaks to a non-profit organization on behalf of the county planning department.

(f) A volunteer for a city park department attends an event representing the department at a meeting to discuss issues surrounding volunteerism.

(g) A legislator attends an event being sponsored by a Native American tribe on behalf of a legislative committee on which the legislator serves.

(h) A city councilor attends the local chamber of commerce breakfast.

(8) “Reception” means a social gathering. Receptions are often held for the purpose of extending a ceremonial or formal welcome and may include private or public meetings during which guests are honored or welcomed. Food and beverages are often provided, but not as a plated, sit-down meal.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020, 244.025, 244.040 & 244.060
Hist.: GEC 2-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0003

Legislative or Administrative Interest Defined in ORS 244.020(9)

(1) If the source of a gift has a legislative or administrative interest, any gift offered to a public official or candidate, a relative or member of a public official’s or candidate’s household, may only be offered and accepted under conditions set forth as permitted in ORS Chapter 244. If, however, the source of a gift does not have a legislative or administrative interest, gifts are not restricted or prohibited.

(2) “Decision” as used in ORS 244.020(9)(a) and (b) means an act that commits the public body to a particular course of action within the public official’s scope of authority and that is connected to the source’s economic interest. A decision is not a recommendation or work performed in an advisory capacity. The following examples illustrate the types of acts that are considered to be “decisions”:

(a) An employee makes a decision when issuing or denying a permit.

(b) An enforcement employee makes decisions on whether to cite, warn or arrest.

(c) An employee who approves contracts makes a decision on a contract.

(d) An employee who commits their public body’s funds for goods and services, such as office supplies, makes a decision.

(e) Should a chief executive officer, director or manager with authority to make a final decision on a matter delegate the decision to a subordinate, the chief executive officer, director or manager would retain responsibility as the final decision maker. The subordinate has also made a decision.

(3) As required by ORS 244.050, any public official or candidate who completes an Annual Verified Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) form will apply the meaning of “decision” in OAR 199-005-0003(2) when identifying a legislative or administrative interest held by any creditor, debtor, business or person, or entity that paid a service fee when listing the information required by ORS 244.060 and 244.070.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020, 244.025, 244.040 & 244.060
Hist.: GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10; GEC 2-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0005

Determining the Value Received by Public Officials

(1) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to guide public officials, candidates and others in determining the value of items or services received by public officials to ensure accurate reporting in ORS 244.060 and to comply with gift and honoraria limits in 244.025 and 244.042.

(2) The fair market value of the merchandise, goods, or services received shall be used to determine benefit or value. Fair market value is the dollar amount goods or services would bring if offered for sale by a person who desired, but was not obligated, to sell and purchased by one who is willing, but not obligated, to buy.

(a) In calculating the benefit or value conferred to a public official, any portion of the benefit transferred to an entity that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code shall not be included as part of the benefit or value to the public official, if the public official does not claim the charitable contribution on personal tax returns.

(b) In calculating the per person cost at receptions or meals, the payer of the public official's admission or meal shall include all costs other than any amount donated to a charity.

(c) The following example demonstrates how the value of a charitable dinner would be calculated. A person with a legislative or administrative interest buys a table for a charitable dinner at $100 per person. If the cost of the meal was $25 and the amount donated to charity was $75, the benefit conferred on the public official is $25. This example requires that the public official does not claim the charitable contribution on personal tax returns.

(3) For receptions and meals with multiple attendees, but with no price established to attend, the source of the public official's meal or reception shall use reasonable methods to determine the per-person value or benefit conferred. The following examples are deemed reasonable methods of calculating value or benefit conferred:

(a) The source divides the amount spent on food, beverage and other costs (other than charitable contributions) by the number of persons whom the payer reasonably expects to attend the reception or dinner;

(b) The source divides the amount spent on food, beverage and other costs (other than charitable contributions) by the number of persons who actually attend the reception or dinner; or

(c) The source calculates the actual amount spent on the public official.

(4) Upon request by the public official, the source shall give notice of the value of the merchandise, goods, or services received.

(5) Attendance at receptions that qualify as an exception to the gift definition under ORS 244.020(6)(b)(L) is permitted without regard to the fair market value of the food and beverage provided.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020, 244.025, 244.042 & 244.100
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0010

Resale Value of Unsolicited Tokens or Awards

(1) The purpose of this rule is to assist public officials in determining the resale value of items provided under ORS 244.020(6)(b)(C).

(2) Engraved or otherwise personalized items that include a public official's name are deemed to have a resale value under $25, unless the personalized item is made from gold or some other valuable material that would have value over $25 as a raw material.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0015

Attendance at Receptions, Meals or Meetings under ORS 244.020(6)(b)(E)

The purpose of this exception is to allow public officials to attend organized, planned events and engage with the members of organizations when representing state government as defined in ORS 174.111, a local government as defined in 174.116 or a special government body as defined in 174.117. This exception to the gift definition does not authorize private meals where the participants engage in discussion. The following list of factors may indicate whether paid expenses may be accepted under this exception:

(1) A large number of people or groups are invited. For example, all members of an organization are invited.

(2) The invitations or programs are sent in advance.

(3) The event is publicized.

(4) The reception, meal, or meeting is open to the public.

(5) Written materials such as a printed program are available.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0020

Gift Exceptions in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(F) and (H)

(1) The purpose of this rule is to provide clarification for these gift exceptions that permit public officials to accept payment of reasonable expenses while in their official capacity. The exceptions are for certain limited purposes. Travel that meets the requirements of ORS 244.020(6)(b)(F) or (H) and this rule may be either within the United States or international.

(2) As provided in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(F) the expenses offered to and accepted by a public official may only be accepted by a public official and not relatives or members of the public official’s household.

(a) The event in which the public official participates may be a convention, fact-finding mission or trip or other meeting and the public official must be representing government, making a speech, participating in a panel discussion or making a presentation. “Speech” means to give a formal address. Self introductions or other perfunctory remarks do not constitute speaking for purposes of this exception. “Panel discussion” means to engage in a formal discussion with other members of the panel or audience. To “make a presentation” may range from presenting prepared remarks on a topic to a brief statement when giving an award.

(b) The source of the payment for a public official’s expenses must provide the public official with a written notice that includes the aggregate sum paid for the expenses over $50 as required in ORS 244.100.

(c) Any public official who is required to file the Annual Verified Statement of Economic Interest form with this Commission must report the expenses paid on the public official’s behalf and provide the details for the event on the form as required by ORS 244.060.

(3) As provided in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(H), when a public official is representing government, expenses may be offered to and accepted by the public official. Payment of expenses may also be offered to and accepted by a public official’s relatives, members of the public official’s household and members of the public official’s staff. The following conditions must be met before the offer of paid expenses may be made to and accepted by a public official:

(a) The purpose for the activity must be for either an officially sanctioned trade promotion or fact-finding trip/mission or for officially designated negotiations or economic development activities.

(b) “Officially sanctioned or officially designated” means written approval by a state or local public body or by a person authorized by the public body to provide that approval. When the activity is officially designated as negotiations or economic activity, the written notice will include approval for the public official to accept the payment of reasonable expenses. Unless the public body determines otherwise, the written notice from the following is sufficient to constitute an officially sanctioned or officially designated activity under ORS 244.020(6)(b)(H):

(A) A supervisor;

(B) A governing body of a public body;

(C) The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, the designated majority or minority leaders of either chamber or appointed committees of the Legislative Assembly for any elected member;

(D) Elected state officials holding the positions of Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, and Superintendent of Public Instruction have authority to officially sanction or designate events for themselves;

(E) Elected state court judges and district attorneys have authority to officially sanction or designate events for themselves;

(F) Elected county sheriffs, surveyors, treasurers, assessors and justices of the peace have authority to officially sanction or designate events for themselves;

(G) The chief administrators of state executive departments, commissions or boards have authority to officially sanction or designate events for themselves;

(H) The chief administrator of a city or county government or a special district has authority to officially sanction or designate events for themselves.

(c) “Trade Promotion” means an activity for the purpose of encouraging or developing commerce or the buying and selling of goods and services.

(d) “Economic Development Activities” mean activities undertaken for the purpose of strengthening, expanding, or enhancing the economy, or activities that provide community development or cultural enhancement. Specific activities include, but are not limited to: promoting tourism; promoting a favorable investment climate to strengthen businesses; creating jobs; raising real wages; assisting Oregon communities to build a capacity to retain, expand or attract business; improving national and global competitiveness of Oregon companies; improving transportation access; and marketing products, services, or opportunities.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0025

Entertainment Permitted Under ORS 244.020(6)(b)(M) and (N)

(1) Entertainment is incidental when it is secondary to the main purpose of the primary event and provided in conjunction with the primary event (such as a singer or band at an awards dinner). Incidental entertainment is secondary in importance and in time devoted to the entertainment compared to the primary, non-entertainment event. Entertainment that involves personal participation is not incidental to another event (such as a golf tournament at a conference).

(2) Entertainment is ceremonial when a public official appears at an entertainment event for a “ceremonial purpose” at the invitation of the source of the entertainment who requests the presence of the public official at a special occasion associated with the entertainment. Staff members accompanying a public official may also attend if they are performing official duties. An example of an appearance by a public official at an entertainment event for a ceremonial purpose includes, but is not limited to, throwing the first pitch at a professional or college baseball game, appearing in a parade, and ribbon cutting for an opening ceremony. To qualify, the entertainment must be provided by the source of the entertainment, and the public official must have an official role in the entertainment event.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.0020
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0027

Usual and Customary Practice as Used in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(O)

(1) The purpose of this rule is to clarify the exception in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(O) that permits public officials and candidates or a relative or member of the household of a public official or candidate to accept or solicit anything of economic value when provided as part of the usual and customary practice of the person’s private business, or the person’s employment or position as a volunteer with a private business, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, not-for-profit corporation or other legal entity operated for economic value and the offer or solicitation bears no relationship to the public official’s or candidate’s holding of, or candidacy for, the official position or public office.

(2) “Usual and customary practice” means an offer that is part of a historical or established custom. Such offers are long standing traditions that embody ordinary or expected practices resulting in economic benefits for those that are not public officials or candidates. As this term is used in ORS 244.020(6)(b)(O), anything of economic value offered or solicited as a “usual and customary practice” must bear no relationship to a public position or office held by the public official or candidate. Examples of usual and customary practice may include:

(a) A pharmacist is elected and becomes a member of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. In the past, as with other pharmacists, the pharmacist and her spouse were invited to dinners hosted by representatives of pharmaceutical manufacturers to discuss products and services. The pharmacist, now a legislator, and her spouse would be able to continue the usual and customary practice of accepting or soliciting these paid expenses for meals received in the practice of her private employment as long as the offer or solicitation bears no relationship to the position held in the Oregon Legislative Assembly and is made to other pharmacists who are not public officials.

(b) A county commissioner owns a lumber mill. In the past, as owner of the lumber mill, sales representatives of equipment manufacturers have offered to pay food, lodging and travel expenses for the owner to view new products and observe manufacturing processes as is offered to other lumber mill owners. Although a county commissioner, the lumber mill owner would be able to continue the usual and customary practice of accepting or soliciting these paid expenses for food, lodging and travel received in the conduct of his private business as long as the offer or solicitation bears no relationship to the position held as a county commissioner and is made to other lumber mill owners who are not public officials.

(c) A member of the board of directors for a local chapter of the American Red Cross is elected to the city council. For the past 15 years the local chapter has provided all board members and their spouses paid food, lodging and travel expenses to attend an annual leadership retreat. The board member, now a city councilor, and his spouse would be able to continue with the other board members in the usual and customary practice of accepting or soliciting these paid expenses for food, lodging and travel expenses in the conduct of his volunteer duties as long as the offer or solicitation bears no relationship to the position held as a city councilor and is made to other board members who are not public officials.

(d) A cattle rancher is a volunteer youth leader in a local 4-H club and was recently appointed to the county fair board. Prior to serving on the fair board, the rancher accompanied 4-H members to livestock competition at the county fair and would receive paid admission and parking passes for her and her family members for each day of the county fair. Although a fair board member, the rancher would be able to continue with the other volunteer youth leaders in the usual and customary practice of accepting or soliciting these paid expenses for herself and her family to attend the county fair while continuing her volunteer position with the 4-H as long as the offer or solicitation bears no relationship to the position held as a fair board member and is made to other youth leaders who are not public officials.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020(6)(b)(O)
Hist.: GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

199-005-0030

Determining the Source of Gifts

(1) ORS 244.025 and 244.040(2)(e) limit the offering and receipt of gifts from sources that could reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest in the vote or decision of the public official who holds any official position or office. This rule is intended to clarify how a public official determines who the source of the gift is. Public officials need to be aware of the source of any gifts they receive (or those that are received by their relatives or members of their household), regardless of amount, to make sure that they comply with the $50 limit on gifts from a single source in a calendar year. To that end, public officials should not accept gifts in any amount without obtaining information from the person or entity offering the gift as to who is the source of the gift. It is the public official's personal responsibility to ensure that no single source provides gifts exceeding an aggregate value of $50 in a calendar year, if the source has a legislative or administrative interest.

(2) The source of any gift provided to a public official is the ultimate payer(s) of the expense.

(3) The $50 gift limit in ORS 244.025 applies separately to the public official or candidate, and to the public official or candidate's relatives or members of household. Each such individual may accept gifts from a single source of a total of $50 per calendar year.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.0025 & 244.040
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 4-2010, f. & cert. ef. 8-4-10

199-005-0035

Guidelines for Compliance with ORS 244.020(6), 244.025, 244.040, 244.042 and 244.047

(1) The purpose of this rule is to define certain terms and to clarify substantive provisions of ORS 244.020(6), 244.025, 244.040, 244.042 and 244.047.

(2) The term “official duties” means that the public official's actions are directly related to serving the state of Oregon or any of its political subdivisions or any other public body as a public official.

(3) An “official compensation package” means the wages and other benefits provided to the public official. To be part of the public official's “official compensation package”, the wages and benefits must have been specifically approved by the public body in a formal manner, such as through a union contract, an employment contract, or other adopted personnel policies that apply generally to employees or other public officials. “Official compensation package” also includes the direct payment of a public official's expenses by the public body, in accordance with the public body's policies.

(4) As used in ORS 244.040(2)(c), “reimbursement of expenses” means the payment by a public body to a public official serving that public body, of expenses incurred in the conduct of official duties on behalf of the public body. Any such repayment must comply with any applicable laws and policies governing the eligibility of such repayment. Expenses paid by the public body to their own public officials need not be reported by the public official under ORS 244.060.

(5) “Confidential information” means any record that is exempt from public disclosure or inspection under state law, or any information obtained in the course of or by reason of holding position as a public official that is not publicly disclosed. The record or information is no longer confidential if it has been voluntarily disclosed by the public body, or been disclosed through a public records disclosure order or court order.

(6) As used in ORS 244.047, a public contract is “authorized by” a public official if the public official performed a significant role in the selection of a contractor or the execution of the contract. A significant role can include recommending approval or signing of the contract, including serving on a selection committee or team, or having the final authorizing authority for the contract.

(7) As defined in ORS 244.020(14), a public official includes anyone serving the State of Oregon or any of its political subdivisions or any other public body in any of the listed capacities, including as an “agent.” An “agent” means any individual performing governmental functions. Governmental functions are services provided on behalf of the government as distinguished from services provided to the government. This may include private contractors and volunteers, depending on the circumstances. This term shall be interpreted to be consistent with Attorney General Opinion No. 8214 (1990).

Stat. Auth.: ORS 244.290
Stats. Implemented: ORS 244.020, 244.025, 244.040, 244.042, 244.047
Hist.: GEC 2-2008, f. & cert. ef. 3-7-08; GEC 1-2010, f. 3-12-10, cert. ef. 3-15-10

The official copy of an Oregon Administrative Rule is contained in the Administrative Order filed at the Archives Division, 800 Summer St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97310. Any discrepancies with the published version are satisfied in favor of the Administrative Order. The Oregon Administrative Rules and the Oregon Bulletin are copyrighted by the Oregon Secretary of State. Terms and Conditions of Use

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

© 2013 State of Oregon All Rights Reserved​