Gift Ban

As defined in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430), a gift is “gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value including, but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government employment or the official position of an employee, member, or officer”.

The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/10-10), states that “no officer, member, or State employee shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source or in violation of any federal or State statute, rule, or regulation. This ban applies to and includes the spouse of and immediate family living with the officer, member, or State employee”.

In short, employees, appointees and members of their immediate family, should not solicit or accept a gift (as defined above) from a prohibited source.  A prohibited source is an entity that does business with the university or is seeking to do business with the university (this includes, but is not limited to current vendors, their spouses and immediate family members, as well as those seeking to do business with the university). However, there are a few exceptions that allow for the acceptance of gifts (please note, some exceptions have been restricted by Executive Order 15-09).  As always, if university policy or departmental policy is more restrictive, you must adhere to the strictest guidance.  

Exceptions to the Gift Ban

5 ILCS 430/10-15 of the Act provides for the following exceptions to the Gift Ban:
  1. Opportunities, benefits, and services that are available on the same conditions as for the general public.
  2. Anything for which the officer, member, or State employee pays the market value.
  3. Any (i) contribution that is lawfully made under the Election Code or under this Act or (ii) activities associated with a fundraising event in support of a political organization or candidate.
  4. Educational materials and missions. This exception is further defined by Illinois Executive Order 15-09, Administrative Rule 1620.700 and requires approval by the Executive Ethics Commission.  The approval has been delegated to the SIU Ethics Office and the Gift Ban Exception Form [pdf] should be completed. Please contact the Ethics Office with further questions.
  5. Travel expenses for a meeting to discuss State business. This exception is further defined by Illinois Executive Order 15-09, Administrative Rule 1620.700 and requires advanced approval by Executive Ethics Commission. The approval has been delegated to the SIU Ethics Office and the Gift Ban Exception Form [pdf] should be completed.  Please contact the Ethics Office with further questions.
  6. A gift from a relative, meaning those people related to the individual as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, great aunt, great uncle, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, and including the father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother of the individual's spouse and the individual's fiance or fiancée.
  7. Anything provided by an individual on the basis of a personal friendship unless the member, officer, or employee has reason to believe that, under the circumstances, the gift was provided because of the official position or employment of the member, officer, or employee and not because of the personal friendship.  In determining whether a gift is provided on the basis of personal friendship, the member, officer, or employee shall consider the circumstances under which the gift was offered, such as:

(i) the history of the relationship between the individual giving the gift and the recipient of the gift, including any previous exchange of gifts between those individuals;

(ii) whether to the actual knowledge of the member, officer, or employee the individual who gave the gift personally paid for the gift or sought a tax deduction or business reimbursement for the gift; and

(iii) whether to the actual knowledge of the member, officer, or employee the individual who gave the gift also at the same time gave the same or similar gifts to other members, officers, or employees.

  1. No longer an exception per Executive Order 15-09. Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a single calendar day; provided that the food or refreshments are (i) consumed on the premises from which they were purchased or prepared or (ii) catered. For the purposes of this Section, "catered" means food or refreshments that are purchased ready to eat and delivered by any means.
  2. Food, refreshments, lodging, transportation, and other benefits resulting from the outside business or employment activities (or outside activities that are not connected to the duties of the officer, member, or employee as an office holder or employee) of the officer, member, or employee, or the spouse of the officer, member, or employee, if the benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the official position or employment of the officer, member, or employee, and are customarily provided to others in similar circumstances.
  3. Intra-governmental and inter-governmental gifts. For the purpose of this Act, "intra-governmental gift" means any gift given to a member, officer, or employee of a State agency from another member, officer, or employee of the same State agency; and "inter-governmental gift" means any gift given to a member, officer, or employee of a State agency, by a member, officer, or employee of another State agency, of a federal agency, or of any governmental entity.
  4. Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death.
  5. No longer an exception per Executive Order 15-09.  Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100.

Executive Order 15-09 states an employee may accept “de minimis meals or refreshments served at a business meeting or reception attended by the State Employee in the course of his or her official duties”.

What happens if a gift is unknowingly accepted?

If you unknowingly accept a gift from a prohibited source, you do not violate the law if you promptly do any of the following:

  • Return the gift to the giver.
  • Donate the gift to an appropriate 501(c)3 charitable organization.
  • Make a contribution equal to the value of the gift to an appropriate 501(c)3 charitable organization.

While not required, employees are encouraged to maintain documentation of the donation in the event questions arise.