Gift Made with Intent to Influence
(1) Proof of commission of any act enumerated in this section is proof that the actor has breached the actor’s public duty. A public officer, legislator, or public employee may not:
. . .
- (b) accept a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift:
- that would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in the person’s position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of the person’s public duties; or
- that the person knows or that a reasonable person in that position should know under the circumstances is primarily for the purpose of rewarding the person for official action taken.
(2) An economic benefit tantamount to a gift includes without limitation a loan at a rate of interest substantially lower than the commercial rate then currently prevalent for similar loans and compensation received for private services rendered at a rate substantially exceeding the fair market value of the services. Campaign contributions reported as required by statute are not gifts or economic benefits tantamount to gifts.
Mont. Code 2-2-104(1)(b), (2).
Extra Compensation for Official Duties
Proof of commission of any act enumerated in this section is proof that the legislator committing the act has breached the legislator’s public duty. A legislator may not:
- accept a fee, contingent fee, or any other compensation, except the official compensation provided by statute, for promoting or opposing the passage of legislation;
- seek other employment for the legislator or solicit a contract for the legislator’s services by the use of the office; or
- accept a fee or other compensation, except as provided for in 5-2-302, from a Montana state agency or a political subdivision of the state of Montana for speaking to the agency or political subdivision.
Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-111. See also Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-121 (similar rule for public officer or public employee).
Gift Regardless of Giver Status
No current state statute or regulation falls under the category of “Gift Regardless of Giver Status.”
Gift from Lobbyist or Regulated Entity
45-7-104. Gifts to Public Servants by Persons Subject to Their Jurisdiction
(2) A public servant having any discretionary function to perform in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, or other pecuniary transactions of the government may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any pecuniary benefit from any person known to be interested in or likely to become interested in any contract, purchase, payment, claim, or transaction.
(3) A public servant having judicial or administrative authority and a public servant employed by or in a court or other tribunal having judicial or administrative authority or participating in the enforcement of its decision may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any pecuniary benefit from a person known to be interested in or likely to become interested in any matter before the public servant or tribunal with which the public servant or tribunal is associated.
(4) A legislator or public servant employed by the legislature or by any committee or agency of the legislature may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any pecuniary benefit from a person known to be interested in or likely to become interested in any matter before the legislature or any committee or agency of the legislature.
(5) This section does not apply to:
- (a) fees prescribed by law to be received by a public servant or any other benefit for which the recipient gives legitimate consideration or to which the public servant is otherwise entitled; or
- (b) trivial benefits incidental to personal, professional, or business contacts and involving no substantial risk of undermining official impartiality.
(6) A person may not knowingly confer or offer or agree to confer any benefit prohibited by subsections (1) through (5).
(7) A person convicted of an offense under this section shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both.
Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-104(1)-(7).
Definitions and Exceptions
“Gift of Substantial Value” Defined
- (a) “Gift of substantial value” means a gift with a value of $50 or more for an individual.
- (b) The term does not include:
- a gift that is not used and that, within 30 days after receipt, is returned to the donor or delivered to a charitable organization or the state and that is not claimed as a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes;
- food and beverages consumed on the occasion when participation in a charitable, civic, or community event bears a relationship to the public officer’s or public employee’s office or employment or when the officer or employee is in attendance in an official capacity;
- educational material directly related to official governmental duties;
- an award publicly presented in recognition of public service; or
- educational activity that:
- (A) does not place or appear to place the recipient under obligation;
- (B) clearly serves the public good; and
- (C) is not lavish or extravagant.
Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-102(3).
Montana’s Code of Ethics and the “Gift Ban”