Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (05/11/1994)

Congressional Gifts Reform Act - Revises the rules of the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding limitations on gifts to Members of Congress and their staff.

(Sec. 2) Prohibits any Member, officer, or employee of the Senate or the House of Representatives, or spouse thereof, from accepting: (1) any gift provided directly or indirectly from a registered lobbyist or foreign agent, including any contribution to a campaign (including from a political action committee), legal defense fund, or charity; or (2) any gift from any other person.

Defines "gift" as any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value, including any services, training, transportation, lodging, or meals. Applies such restrictions to any financial contribution or expenditure relating to a conference, retreat, or similar event.

Specifies items that shall not constitute gifts, including campaign contributions lawfully made under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, nonbusiness gifts motivated by a personal friendship (subject to the approval of the Senate Ethics Committee or the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct if in excess of $250) or a family relationship, and, except if provided by a lobbyist or foreign agent: (1) meals, lodging, and other benefits resulting from outside business or employment activities that are not connected to official duties if not offered or enhanced because of the recipient's position and if customarily provided to others; (2) contest awards and prizes, honorary degrees for public service, and other opportunities and benefits if available to the general public or to Federal employees; (3) attendance and food provided at political conventions; and (4) meals and entertainment provided in a Member's home State, subject to limitations to be prescribed.

Allows, except if provided by a lobbyist or foreign agent: (1) free attendance at a widely attended convention, conference, dinner, or similar event if the attendee participates in a manner appropriate to his or her official position or if attendance is appropriate to the performance of official duties; and (2) reimbursement for transportation, lodging, and related expenses for travel to an event in connection with official duties if advance authorization is obtained and expenses are disclosed to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives. (Excludes: (1) events of which the activities are substantially recreational in nature; and (2) expenses for recreational activities and entertainment not provided to all attendees as an integral part of the event.) Requires publication of advance authorizations, disclosures of reimbursements, and reports of reimbursements aggregating more than $250 from any one source.

Permits participation in educational programs sponsored by a foreign government, educational, or charitable organization involving travel to a foreign country paid for by the foreign government (restricted to funds used for necessary food, lodging, transportation, and related expenses) if such participation is in the interests of the Senate, the House, or the United States. Requires written notification of the Secretary or the Clerk.

(Sec. 4) Amends the Ethics in Government Act to require the financial disclosure reports of Federal personnel to include the identity of the source, a brief description, and the value of all gifts (other than food, lodging, or entertainment received as personal hospitality of an individual) having a value of $20 or more that are provided by a lobbyist or foreign agent and that would be prohibited but for a personal friendship exception.

(Sec. 5) Post-Employment Reform Act of 1994 - Amends the Federal criminal code to extend from one to two years the period following employment during which senior executive branch and legislative branch personnel and Members of Congress are prohibited from: (1) lobbying their former institutions; or (2) representing or aiding a foreign entity, including a nongovernmental entity, with the intent to influence a decision of a U.S. department or agency. Repeals the three-year lobbying ban applicable to former U.S. Trade Representatives but extends from two to ten years the period following employment during which certain executive branch officials shall not represent, aid, or advise persons other than the United States concerning ongoing trade or treaty negotiations.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits registered lobbyists or foreign agents from: (1) making contributions to a legal expense fund established for an executive branch employee or official; or (2) knowingly providing a gift to any Member, officer, or employee of the House or the Senate, or spouse thereof, in violation of House or Senate rules.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, on behalf of the Senate, to accept gifts provided they do not involve any duty by the United States.

(Sec. 13) Expresses the sense of the Senate that the conferees on the omnibus crime legislation should totally reject the so-called Racial Justice Act provisions contained in the crime bill passed by the House on April 21, 1994.