Part 304-4 - Authority
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 31 U.S.C. 1353.
§304-4.1 - To whom do the pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants refer throughout this part?
Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the agency.
§304-4.2 - What is the purpose of this part?
The purpose of this part is to establish Governmentwide policy and guidance for acceptance by a Federal agency of payment for travel expenses from a non-Federal source for employees to attend meetings under 31 U.S.C. 1353. It prescribes how such payments may be accepted.
§304-4.3 - Under what other authority may we accept payment for travel expenses from a non-Federal source?
You may accept payment for travel expenses to events other than meetings from a non-Federal source pursuant to an agency gift statute or similar statutory authority. However, this Chapter 304.
Note: Employees may also be able to accept payment for travel expenses from non-Federal sources in their individual capacities under the authorities referenced in §304-3.19.
Part 304-5 - Agency Responsibilities
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 31 U.S.C. 1353.
§304-5.1 - When may we accept payment from a non-Federal source for travel to a meeting or authorize an employee to accept payment on our behalf?
You may accept payment from a non-Federal source or authorize an employee and/or the employee’s spouse to accept payment on your behalf only when—
(a) You have issued the employee (and/or the employee’s spouse, when applicable) a travel authorization before the travel begins;
(b) You have determined that the travel is in the interest of the Government;
(c) The travel relates to the employee’s official duties; and
(d) The non-Federal source is not disqualified due to a conflict of interest under §304-5.3.
§304-5.2 - Who must approve acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses to a meeting?
An official at the highest practical administrative level who can evaluate the requirements in §304-5.3, must approve acceptance of such payments.
§304-5.3 - What does our approving official need to consider before authorizing acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses for a meeting?
(a) The approving official must not authorize acceptance of the payment if he/she determines that acceptance of the payment under the circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts relevant to a particular case to question the integrity of agency programs or operations. The approving official must be guided by all relevant considerations, including but not limited to the—
(1) Identity of the non-Federal source;
(2) Purpose of the meeting;
(3) Identity of other expected participants;
(4) Nature and sensitivity of any matter pending at the agency which may affect the interest of the non-Federal source;
(5) Significance of the employee’s role in any such matter; and
(6) Monetary value and character of the travel benefits offered by the non-Federal source.
(b) The agency official may find that, while acceptance from the non-Federal source is permissible, it is in the interest of the agency to qualify acceptance of the offered payment by, for example, authorizing attendance at only a portion of the event or limiting the type or character of benefits that may be accepted.
§304-5.4 - May we authorize an employee to exceed the maximum subsistence allowances (per diem or actual expense) prescribed in applicable travel regulations where we have authorized acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for such allowances?
(a) Generally, yes. Subsistence allowances are usually limited to the maximum subsistence allowances (per diem or actual expense) prescribed in Chapter 301 of this title for travel in CONUS, by the Secretary of Defense for travel in non-foreign areas, and by the Secretary of State for travel in foreign areas. However, the maximum subsistence allowances established by this title and by the Secretary of Defense may be exceeded as long as—
(1) The non-Federal source pays the full amount of the subsistence expenses, at issue; and
(2) The subsistence expense paid by the non-Federal source is comparable in value to that offered to or purchased by meeting attendees.
(b) The maximum subsistence allowances prescribed by the Secretary of State for travel to foreign areas may not be exceeded.
§304-5.5 - May we authorize an employee to travel by other than coach-class on common carriers or other than lowest first-class on ships if we accept payment in full from a non-Federal source for such transportation expenses?
Yes, you may authorize an employee to travel by other than coach-class on common carriers or other than lowest first-class on ships as long as the:
(a) Non-Federal source makes full payment for such transportation services in advance of travel; and
(b) Transportation accommodations furnished are comparable in value to those offered to, or purchased by other similarly situated meeting attendees; and
(c) Travel meets at least one of the conditions in §§301-10.123, 301-10.162 and 301-10.183 of this Title.
§304-5.6 - May we authorize acceptance of payment from more than one non-Federal source for a single trip?
Yes, you may accept payment from more than one non-Federal source for a single trip, as long as the total of such payments do not exceed the total cost of the trip.
§304-5.7 - How do we review offers of payments in kind from the non-Federal sponsor or organizer of a meeting or similar function for items such as meals, transportation, and lodging when they are included in a waived or discounted registration fee?
(a)If the non-Federal sponsor or organizer of a meeting or similar function offers to waive or discount the registration fee of an employee who is only attending the event, you are not required to separately authorize acceptance of any items included in the registration fee. If applicable, acceptance of the registration fee must be reported to OGE in accordance with FTR part 304-6.
(b)When a waived or discounted registration fee is not a payment in kind pursuant to §304-3.10, the employee may only accept items that you authorize separately. If applicable, the value of any payments in kind so accepted should be reported to OGE in accordance with FTR part 304-6. In particular, if a registration fee is waived or discounted on the day(s) an employee is participating as a speaker, panelist, or presenter, and the registration fee includes meal(s), the employee may accept meal(s) as a payment in kind only if you review the offer and authorize acceptance. Review the reporting guidelines at §304-6.4 to see if the aggregated meal amounts (if more than one meal, or meals of both an employee and spouse) will need to be reported to OGE.
Part 304-6 - Payment Guidelines
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 31 U.S.C. 1353.
Subpart A - General
§304-6.1 - May we accept a monetary payment in the form of cash from a non-Federal source?
No, you may not accept a monetary payment in the form of cash from a non-Federal source. Monetary payment(s) received from a non-Federal source must be in the form of a check or similar instrument made payable to the agency.
§304-6.2 - What should we do if a non-Federal source does not pay the full cost for expenses that an employee will incur during travel?
If you determine in advance of the employee’s travel that payment from a non-Federal source will cover some but not all of the employee’s allowable travel and subsistence expenses you should state on the employee’s travel authorization that the employee will be reimbursed the difference between the full allowances and the payment from the non-Federal source. See Chapter 301 of this Title, 6 Foreign Affairs Manual, Chapter 100, or the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR), Chapter 4, Parts L and Q, as applicable to determine the applicable maximum allowances.
§304-6.3 - What happens if an employee accepts payment from a non-Federal source that is in violation of this part?
If an employee accepts payment from a non-Federal source in violation of this part—
(a) You may require the employee, in addition to any penalty provided by law and applicable regulations, to pay the general fund of the Treasury, an amount equal to the payment so accepted; and
(b) The employee shall not be entitled to any reimbursement from the Government for such expenses.
Subpart B - Reports
§304-6.4 - What form must we use to report payments received by the agency from non-Federal sources?
Your agency head or designee must submit Standard Form (SF) 326, Semiannual Report of Payments Accepted From a Non-Federal Source (fully completed) to report payments received from non-Federal sources. This applies to all payments that are more than $250 per event for an employee and accompanying spouse. For purposes of the $250 threshold, payments for an employee and accompanying spouse shall be aggregated. If you wish to use a form other than SF 326 to report such payments, you may seek permission to do so by contacting the Office of Government Ethics at United States Office of Government Ethics, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-3917.
§304-6.5 - What guidelines must we follow when using the Standard Form (SF) 326?
When completing the SF 326—
(a) You must fully complete each block on SF 326 without exception (including payments accepted for an accompanying spouse).
(b) You must also—
(1) Submit the SF 326 no later than May 31 for payments received from the preceding October 1 through March 31;
(2) Submit a SF 326 no later than November 30 for payments received from the preceding April 1 through September 30; and
(c) Submit the SF 326 including negative reports, to: Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-3917.
Subpart C - Valuation
§304-6.6 - How do we determine the value of payments in kind that are to be reported on Standard Form (SF) 326?
The following should be used in the determination of the value of payments in kind for reporting on SF 326:
(a) For conference, training, or similar fees waived, discounted, or paid for by a non-Federal source on behalf of a meeting attendee, you must report the amount charged to other attendees. However, a waiver or discount of the registration fee by the non-Federal sponsor of the event for the day(s) the employee participated in the meeting or similar function as a speaker, panelist, or presenter is not a payment in kind and does not need to be reported.
(b) For transportation or lodging, you must report the cost that the non-Federal source paid or usually would have been charged for such event.
(c) For meals, you must use the M&IE deduction chart for CONUS and OCONUS located at www.gsa.gov/mie and report the appropriate amount for each meal based on the temporary duty locality.
(d) For chartered, corporate or other private aircraft—
(1) When common carrier is available, you must report the first-class rate that would have been charged by a commercial air carrier at the time the event took place.
(2) When a common carrier is not available, you must report the cost of chartering a similar aircraft using a commercially available service.
(e) Lodging where no commercial rate is available: You must report the maximum lodging rate established by GSA for CONUS, Department of Defense for non-foreign areas and the Secretary of State for foreign areas. These rates are available on the Internet at the GSA Web site http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem, with links to the non-foreign and foreign area rates.
§304-6.7 - Must we report on the Standard Form (SF) 326 any information that is protected from disclosure by statute?
No. Information that is protected by statute from disclosure to the public should not be reported on the SF 326. However, if you omit otherwise reportable information from the SF 326 because the information may not be disclosed, you must notify OGE unless otherwise prohibited by law and, if requested by the Director of OGE, make the information available for inspection by an OGE employee with the requisite clearance.
§304-6.8 - Will the reports be made available for public inspection?
Yes, OGE must make any report filed by an agency under this part (that is not protected from disclosure by statute) available for public inspection and copying on the later of the following two dates:
(a) Within 30 days after the applicable due date.
(b) Within 30 days after the date OGE actually receives the report.
§304-6.9 - Does acceptance by OGE of the Standard Form (SF) 326 constitute a determination by OGE that the data submitted is adequate or a concurrence by OGE in the agency’s conflict of interest analysis?
No. OGE is responsible for making the information provided by the agencies available to the public. It is each agency’s responsibility to file the accurate and complete reports and to make the appropriate conflict of interest analysis.