Under Title 19, NYCRR, Part 933, Gift Regulations for Public Officers, employees are prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts of more than nominal value when it may be reasonably inferred that the gift:

  • Awards or plaques in recognition of public service;
  • Honorary degrees;
  • Promotional items with no resale value;
  • Discounts available to the general public, e.g., wireless providers offer discounts to all government employees;
  • Gifts from family members and personal relationships where it is clear that the relationship is not being used as a pretext to give an otherwise impermissible gift;
  • Contributions to political campaigns;
  • Meals and beverages provided to participants at professional and educational programs;
  • Local travel payments for tours related to one’s official activity;
  • Food or beverage valued at $15 or less per event; and,
  • Complimentary attendance at certain events, including food and beverage, at a bona fide charitable or political event (defined below):

Bona Fide Charitable Event: The event’s primary purpose must be to provide financial support to an organization that is either registered as a charity with the Office of the Attorney General (unless exempt) or qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

Bona Fide Political Event: The event’s primary purpose must be to provide financial support to a political organization or a candidate for statewide office

Purchase College employees must adopt an attitude and mode of operation that is above criticism and avoid any type of conduct that would give any suggestion of a conflict of interest. The value of a gift is the retail cost to purchase it; the value of a ticket entitling you to food, refreshments, entertainment, etc. is the face value of the ticket; if no value is indicated, the value is the actual cost to the giver. The offer of reciprocity, or even actual reciprocity, does not reduce the value of a gift given to you. You may not designate a friend, family member, or entity (for example, a charity) to receive a gift that you cannot receive.

The underlying principle is the same for multiple gifts, even of nominal value, from a single source given over a 12-month period. Employees “must strive to avoid creating any appearance that would suggest that they are being improperly influenced in discharging their public responsibilities by refusing multiple nominal gifts from the same donor.”