Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 30. General Assembly
4/30/2017

Article 2. Generally Prohibited and Unlawful Conduct.

§ 30-102. Application.

This article applies to generally prohibited conduct which shall be unlawful.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.32; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-103. Prohibited conduct.

No legislator shall:

1. Solicit or accept money or other thing of value for services performed within the scope of his official duties, except the compensation, expenses or other remuneration paid to him by the General Assembly. This prohibition shall not apply to the acceptance of special benefits which may be authorized by law;

2. Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of obtaining employment, appointment, or promotion of any person with any governmental or advisory agency;

3. Offer or accept any money or other thing of value for or in consideration of the use of his public position to obtain a contract for any person or business with any governmental or advisory agency;

4. Use for his own economic benefit or that of another party confidential information which he has acquired by reason of his public position and which is not available to the public;

5. Accept any money, loan, gift, favor, service, or business or professional opportunity that reasonably tends to influence him in the performance of his official duties. This subdivision shall not apply to any political contribution actually used for political campaign or constituent service purposes and reported as required by Chapter 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) of Title 24.2;

6. Accept any business or professional opportunity when he knows that there is a reasonable likelihood that the opportunity is being afforded him to influence him in the performance of his official duties;

7. During the one year after the termination of his service as a legislator, represent a client or act in a representative capacity on behalf of any person or group, for compensation, on any matter before the General Assembly or any agency of the legislative branch of government. The prohibitions of this subdivision shall apply only to persons engaged in activities that would require registration as a lobbyist under § 2.2-422. Any person subject to the provisions of this subdivision may apply to the Attorney General, as provided in § 30-122, for an advisory opinion as to the application of the restriction imposed by this subdivision on any post-public employment position or opportunity;

8. Accept any honoraria for any appearance, speech, or article in which the legislator provides expertise or opinions related to the performance of his official duties. The term "honoraria" shall not include any payment for or reimbursement to such person for his actual travel, lodging, or subsistence expenses incurred in connection with such appearance, speech, or article or in the alternative a payment of money or anything of value not in excess of the per diem deduction allowable under § 162 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended from time to time;

9. Accept appointment to serve on a body or board of any corporation, company or other legal entity, vested with the management of the corporation, company or entity, and on which two other members of the General Assembly already serve, which is operated for profit and regulated by the State Corporation Commission as (i) a financial institution, (ii) a mortgage lender or broker, (iii) any business under Chapter 5 (§ 13.1-501 et seq.) of Title 13.1, (iv) any business under Title 38.2, or (v) any business under Title 56;

10. Accept a gift from a person who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance of the legislator's official duties under circumstances where the timing and nature of the gift would cause a reasonable person to question the legislator's impartiality in the matter affecting the donor. Violations of this subdivision shall not be subject to criminal law penalties; or

11. Accept gifts from sources on a basis so frequent as to raise an appearance of the use of his public office for private gain. Violations of this subdivision shall not be subject to criminal law penalties.

1987, Sp. Sess., c. 1, § 2.1-639.33; 1994, cc. 633, 727, 776, 815, 851; 2001, c. 844; 2006, cc. 787, 892.

§ 30-103.1. Certain gifts prohibited.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Widely attended event" means an event at which at least 25 persons have been invited to attend or there is a reasonable expectation that at least 25 persons will attend the event and the event is open to individuals (i) who share a common interest, (ii) who are members of a public, civic, charitable, or professional organization, (iii) who are from a particular industry or profession, or (iv) who represent persons interested in a particular issue.

B. No legislator or candidate for the General Assembly required to file the disclosure form prescribed in § 30-111 or a member of his immediate family shall solicit, accept, or receive any single gift for himself or a member of his immediate family with a value in excess of $100 or any combination of gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $100 within any calendar year for himself or a member of his immediate family from any person that he or a member of his immediate family knows or has reason to know is (i) a lobbyist registered pursuant to Article 3 (§ 2.2-418 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 2.2 or (ii) a lobbyist's principal as defined in § 2.2-419. Gifts with a value of less than $20 are not subject to aggregation for purposes of this prohibition.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, a legislator or candidate or a member of his immediate family may accept or receive a gift of food and beverages, entertainment, or the cost of admission with a value in excess in $100 when such gift is accepted or received while in attendance at a widely attended event and is associated with the event. Such gifts shall be reported on the disclosure form prescribed in § 30-111.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, a legislator or a member of his immediate family may accept or receive a gift from a foreign dignitary with a value exceeding $100 for which the fair market value or a gift of greater or equal value has not been provided or exchanged. Such gift shall be accepted on behalf of the Commonwealth and archived in accordance with guidelines established by the Library of Virginia. Such gift shall be disclosed as having been accepted on behalf of the Commonwealth, but the value of such gift shall not be required to be disclosed.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, a legislator or candidate or a member of his immediate family may accept or receive certain gifts with a value in excess of $100 from a person listed in subsection B if such gift was provided to the legislator or candidate or a member of his immediate family on the basis of a personal friendship. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person listed in subsection B may be a personal friend of the legislator or candidate or his immediate family for purposes of this subsection. In determining whether a person listed in subsection B is a personal friend, the following factors shall be considered: (i) the circumstances under which the gift was offered; (ii) the history of the relationship between the person and the donor, including the nature and length of the friendship and any previous exchange of gifts between them; (iii) to the extent known to the person, whether the donor personally paid for the gift or sought a tax deduction or business reimbursement for the gift; and (iv) whether the donor has given the same or similar gifts to other persons required to file the disclosure form prescribed in § 2.2-3117 or 30-111.

F. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, a legislator or candidate or a member of his immediate family may accept or receive gifts of travel, including travel-related transportation, lodging, hospitality, food or beverages, or other thing of value, with a value in excess of $100 that is paid for or provided by a person listed in subsection B when the legislator or candidate has submitted a request for approval of such travel to the Council and has received the approval of the Council pursuant to § 30-356.1. Such gifts shall be reported on the disclosure form prescribed in § 30-111.

G. The $100 limitation imposed in accordance with this section shall be adjusted by the Council every five years, as of January 1 of that year, in an amount equal to the annual increases for that five-year period in the United States Average Consumer Price Index for all items, all urban consumers (CPI-U), as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

2014, cc. 792, 804; 2015, cc. 763, 777.

§ 30-103.2. Return of gifts.

No person shall be in violation of any provision of this chapter prohibiting the acceptance of a gift if the gift is not used by such person and the gift or its equivalent in money is returned to the donor or delivered to a charitable organization within a reasonable period of time upon the discovery of the value of the gift and is not claimed as a charitable contribution for federal income tax purposes or (ii) consideration is given by the donee to the donor for the value of the gift within a reasonable period of time upon the discovery of the value of the gift provided that such consideration reduces the value of the gift to an amount not in excess of $100 as provided in subsection B of § 30-103.1.

2015, cc. 763, 777.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).