Ethics Rules

General Ethical Rules

General Rule: Kansas Statute 46-237(a) prohibits the solicitation or acceptance of gifts, economic opportunities, loans, gratuities or special discounts given because of a person's official position.


  1. Value less than $40 AND is given at a ceremony or public function where accepting because of the person's official capacity; or,
  2. From relatives or personal friends unrelated to official capacity; or
  3. If received on behalf of the state and becomes property of the state not the person; or,
  4. Received from state agency as reward or other form of compensation (at KU, withholding occurs for any University reward/compensation of a value of $40.00 or more).

Examples of Prohibited Gifts: Including, but not limited to speaker's gifts, pens, key chains, mugs, and flowers.

Note: This prohibition applies to gifts, discounts, etc even when given by the employing state agency, unless one of the above exceptions applies. (Ethics Commission Opinion No. 2002-08)

General Rule: State employees may not accept or solicit a free or discounted meal worth more than $40 from a source outside state government.  A "meal" does not include receptions where finger food and snacks are served and there is no sit-down meal service.  Thus, state employees may attend such receptions under state ethics rules.

State employees may accept meals worth more than $40 only under the following circumstances:


  1. Meal is motivated by personal or family relationships; or,
  2. Meal is provided at widely attended event AND it is obvious the meal is not a pretext for exclusive access to the person; or,
  3. Meal is provided at public event in which person attends due to official capacity (the "rubber chicken dinner"); or,
  4. Meal is provided when it is obvious that it is not provided due to person's official position; or,
  5. It is refreshments such as soft drinks, coffee or snack foods that are not part of a meal.
  6. Fair market value of the meal is paid to the provider; or
  7. Meals provided to a person when the person's presence at the event or meeting at which the meal is provided serves a legitimate state purpose or interest and the agency of which such person is an officer or employee authorizes such person's attendance at such event or meeting; or
  8. Meals provided to the governor's spouse and members of the governor's immediate family at the event or meeting at which the meal is provided serve a legitimate state purpose or interest.
  9. Meal is not provided by a registered lobbyist.

General Rule: You are prohibited from accepting free or discounted travel and/or lodging by any person or company outside state government.


  1. When obvious that travel and related expenses are not provided because of the person's official position; or,
  2. When person's presence at meeting, seminar or event serves legitimate state purpose and the person's agency authorizes or would authorize payment for travel and related expenses.

General Rule: You are prohibited from accepting discount or free tickets or entertainment opportunities offered because of your official position.


  1. If offered because of the person's official position, acceptance is permissible only if the person's official position requires or obliges him/her to be present at the event or activity.
  2. Free or discounted tickets or passes to events such as plays, concerts, games, golf or other recreational activities that are available to ALL State employees.

DISCLAIMER: The Office of the General Counsel of the University of Kansas publishes these web pages for general information only. The pages are not intended to provide specific legal advice for any specific situation. Legal advice can be provided only in the course of an attorney-client relationship with reference to all the facts of a specific situation. This information, therefore, must not be relied on as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney. While we try to provide links to timely and authoritative information, the content of linked sites is subject to local disclaimers, and the Office of the General Counsel makes no guarantees, express or implied, concerning its accuracy. We recommend that users obtain confirmation from official sources of all information found on World Wide Web sites.