Gift Made with Intent to Influence
No current state statute or regulation falls under the category of “Gift Made with Intent to Influence.”
Extra Compensation for Official Duties
If a member of the Public Utility Commission or the clerk of such Commission receives pay for any service from any party other than the State, or for neglect of any service, he or she shall be imprisoned not more than six months or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. This section shall not be construed to prevent the clerk of such Commission from receiving the usual fees for copies of records or papers in his or her office.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 1105.
Gift Regardless of Giver Status
(a) Gift limitations and exceptions. A public servant shall not solicit or accept a gift unless permitted under this section. For purposes of this subchapter, “gift” means anything of value, tangible or intangible, that is given for less than adequate consideration. A public servant may accept:
- A devise or inheritance. A public servant may accept a devise or inheritance.
- Gifts to the State. A public servant may accept goods or services that are provided to a State agency for use on State agency property or for use by the public servant while serving in an official capacity.
- Ceremonial awards. A public servant may accept a certificate, plaque, or other ceremonial award, provided the cost does not exceed the limit established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
- Rebates, discounts, and promotions. A public servant may accept a rebate, discount, or promotional item that is available to the general public or to a definable subset of the general public.
- Printed or recorded material. A public servant may accept printed or recorded informational or educational material germane to State action or functions.
- Food or beverages. A public servant may accept food or beverages, or both, under the following circumstances:
- (A) The food or beverage, or both, is consumed on an occasion or occasions at which the person paying, directly or indirectly, for the food or beverage or the person’s representative is in attendance, provided the cost does not exceed the limit established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
- (B) The food or beverage, or both, is incidental to the performance of a legitimate State function.
- (C) The food or beverage, or both, is provided at a charitable, cultural, political, or civic event at which the public servant participates in the public servant’s official capacity.
- Admission fees and tickets. A public servant may accept free attendance to a widely attended charitable, cultural, political, or civic event at which a public servant participates in the public servant’s official capacity, provided such tickets or admission is provided by the primary sponsoring entity. Free attendance may include all or part of the cost of admission; transportation to and from the event; and food, refreshments, entertainment, and instructional materials provided to all event attendees.
- Private employment gifts. A public servant may accept anything of value provided by an employer of the public servant, provided such benefits are customarily and ordinarily provided to others in similar circumstances.
- Public-servant-to-public-servant gifts. A public servant may accept a gift from another public servant under the following circumstances:
- (A) If the recipient is not in a supervisor-supervisee relationship with the giver, the public servant may accept a gift for a holiday or occasion of significance.
- (B) If the recipient is in a supervisor-supervisee relationship, the public servant may accept a gift for a holiday or occasion of significance, provided the value does not exceed the limit established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
- Training or education. A public servant may accept attendance to training or similar events determined to be in the interest of the public servant’s agency or department.
- Gifts of de minimis value. A public servant may accept an unsolicited gift having a de minimis market value as established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
- Personal gifts. A public servant may accept gifts clearly motivated by an outside relationship, family relationship, or personal friendship rather than the position of the public servant. Relevant factors in making such a determination include the history and nature of the relationship and whether the individual, family member, or a friend personally pays for the gift.
- Loans. A public servant may accept a commercially reasonable loan made on terms not more favorable than loans made in the ordinary course of business.
- Gifts otherwise permitted and legal. A public servant may accept a gift that is otherwise expressly permitted under State law.
(b) Gift valuation. For purposes of this subchapter, the value or cost limit for gifts described in subsection (a) of this section shall be:
- Beginning on July 1, 2022:
- (A) Ceremonial awards: Less than $100.00.
- (B) Food or beverages, or both: Less than $100.00 in the aggregate per recipient, per source, in a calendar year.
- (C) A supervisor-supervisee relationship gift: Less than $100.00 for any single gift, and the value of all gifts does not exceed $200.00 in the aggregate per year.
- (D) De minimis gift: $50.00 or less per source per occasion, provided that the aggregate market value of individual gifts received from any one person does not exceed $150.00 in a calendar year.
- On or after July 1, 2026, the State Ethics Commission may increase the value or cost limit set in subdivision (1) of this subsection, provided:
- (A) the State Ethics Commission presents its proposed increase to the House and Senate Committees on Government Operations at least 180 days prior to proposed implementation and after consultation with the Department of Human Resources and the Judicial Branch;
- (B) the cost or value limit is not increased more than once in a five- year period; and
- (C) the increased cost or value limit is posted on the State Ethics Commission website and the Commission sends a notice of increase to public servants not less than 60 days prior to the increase’s effective date.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 3, § 1203g.
Gift from Lobbyist or Regulated Entity
§ 261. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
. . .
- (A) “Gift” means:
- a political contribution;
- anything of value, tangible or intangible, that is bestowed for less than adequate consideration, including travel expenses such as travel fare, room and board, and other expenses associated with travel;
- a meal or alcoholic beverage;
- a ticket, fee, or expenses for or to any sporting, recreational, or entertainment events;
- a speaking fee or honorarium, except actual and reasonable travel expenses;
- a loan made on terms more favorable than those made generally available to the public in the normal course of business.
- (B) “Gift” does not mean:
- anything given between immediate family members;
- printed educational material such as books, reports, pamphlets, or periodicals;
- a gift which is not used and which, within 30 days after receipt, is returned to the donor or for which the donor is reimbursed for its fair market value; and
- a devise or inheritance.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 261(6).
§ 264. Reports of Expenditures, Compensation, and Gifts; Employers; Lobbyists
(b) An employer shall disclose for the period of the report the following information:
. . . .
(3) An itemized list of every gift the value of which is greater than $15.00, made by or on behalf of the employer to or at the request of one or more legislators or administrative officials or a member of a legislator’s or administrative official’s immediate family. With respect to each gift, the employer shall report the date the gift was made, the nature of the gift, the value of the gift, the identity of any legislators or administrative officials who requested the gift, and the identity of any recipients of the gift. Monetary gifts, other than political contributions, shall be prohibited.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 264(b)(3).
§ 266. Prohibited Conduct
(a) It shall be prohibited conduct:
. . . .
(2) for a legislator or administrative official to solicit a gift, other than a contribution, from a registered employer or registered lobbyist or a lobbying firm engaged by an employer, except that charitable contributions for nonprofit organizations qualified under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) may be solicited from registered employers and registered lobbyists or lobbying firms engaged by an employer; or
. . . .
(c) As used in this section:
- “Candidate’s committee,” “contribution,” and “legislative leadership political committee” shall have the same meanings as in 17 V.S.A. chapter 61 (campaign finance).
- “Executive officer” means:
- (A) the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts, or Attorney General; or
- (B) under the Office of the Governor, an agency secretary or deputy or a department commissioner or deputy.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 2, § 266.
Definitions and Exceptions
Please see above sections for statute specific definitions and exceptions.
Quick Summary: Vermont Code of Ethics for State Public Servants