Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Summary of Gift Rules – February 2015

These are general gift rules that apply to City officers and employees.  There are a number of complicated exceptions; thus, officers and employees should ask the Ethics Commission for advice about specific circumstances.  Officers and employees may be subject to stricter rules adopted by their departments.  In cases where there is a discrepancy between this summary and the law, the law governs.  Special rules apply to gifts given directly to the City rather than to individual employees or officers.  This fact sheet does not discuss those special rules.

Who is affected?What is the rule?
City officers and designated employees who file Statements of Economic Interests (SEIs or Form 700)No City officer or designated employee may receive any gift(s) worth more than $460 in a calendar year from a single source, if the source of the gift is a reportable source within the filer’s disclosure category. Filers must report on Form 700 any gift(s), single or cumulative, with a fair market value of $50 or more.
All City officers and employees See SF C& GC Code § 3.216 and EC Regulations 3.216(b)-1-6No officer or employee may receive any gift from any person or entity that contracts or is seeking to contract with the department of the officer or employee, or with any person who during the prior 12 months knowingly attempted to influence the officer or employee in any legislative or administrative action.  There are a number of exceptions to this rule, most notably:  non-cash gifts worth $25 or less, up to 4 times per year; and gifts of food or drink to be shared in office.
All City officers and employees See SF C&GC Code § 3.218 and Statement of Incompatible Activities for applicable department, board or commissionNo officer or employee may accept or receive any gift from anyone other than the City for the performance of a specific service or act that the officer or employee is expected to render in the regular course of his or her City duties, or for advice about City processes.  Exceptions include non-cash gifts worth $25 or less per occasion; and gifts such as food and drink to be shared in office among employees.
All City officers and employees See SF C&GC Code § 3.216(c) and EC Regulation 3.216(c)-1No officer or employee may solicit or accept any gift from any subordinate or job applicant.  Exceptions include non-cash gifts of $25 or less given on occasions on which gifts are traditionally given; food and drink to be shared in office; personal hospitality; and gifts given in recognition of an occasion of special personal significance.

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