The Free Lunch - When is it Acceptable by Federal Employees
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Department of Defense Office of General Counsel Washington United States
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While there may be such a thing as a free lunch in life, the Standards of Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch Standards prescribe limits as to free lunches for Federal employees employees. By rigorously adhering to the Standards of Ethical Conduct, employees help maintain public confidence in the Department. The Standards may allow for a free lunch under some circumstances. DoD leaders have emphasized, though, that the Standards are the bare minimum DoD employees must always ask if they can accept a gift, but also, whether they should accept the gift. Even where legally permitted to accept a gift, an employee must always consider whether doing so would call into question his or her impartiality or integrity. There are approximately 3,000 designated ethics counselors in the Department of Defense who stand ready to assist employees in navigating these questions.
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