Ask The Experts - Giving Gifts to University Officials and Employees - State and Federal Communications

April 6, 2017  •  

Ask The Experts – Giving Gifts to University Officials and Employees

Myra CottrillQ: Our company is a registered lobbyist employer in many states, and we regularly do business with universities. Can my company give gifts to university officials and employees?

A: Gifts to university officials and employees fall under the purview of state ethics laws in a majority of states.  Additionally, universities will often have more restrictive gift policies with respect to vendors. It is especially important to understand what your company can and can’t do at this level, because university employees (especially professors) are sometimes unaware of potential restrictions. Potential penalties can include loss of contracts with a university and/or state fines. Further, if your company is registered as a lobbyist employer, some gifts will need to be disclosed on appropriate reports.

The first step to determine whether a gift to a university official or employee will be permissible is to determine the scope of a state’s gift restrictions…

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