Federal employees could face fines, prison time for accepting donations | KOB 4

Federal employees could face fines, prison time for accepting donations

Patrick Hayes
January 18, 2019 10:15 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Federal employees impacted by the government shutdown are finding new ways to pay the bills.


Many of those 800,000 workers have turned to donations but accepting those gifts might be problematic, according to officials at the University of New Mexico’s School of Public Administration.

SPA Director Dr. Bruce Perlman told KOB 4 that government workers could face criminal penalties if they’re not careful.

“They may be subject to penalties of up to five years in prison, $50,000 fine or potentially having to pay back what they receive,” Perlman said.

According to Perlman, under the law, federal workers cannot receive any “contribution” or “supplement” to salary as compensation for services. 

Meanwhile, they can receive some gifts but they have to be worth less than $20 and cannot come from a person who works with the agency.

For example, TSA employees can receive some discounts, such as free food, as long as it meets certain criteria and falls under that $20 cap.

Officials at the Albuquerque Sunport said they’re trying to help TSA employees but there’s a lot of red tape.

Sunport spokesperson Stephanie Kitt told KOB, “As a city entity, we’re not able to do it on our end but we have had a lot of people reach out to us, whether it’s a passenger, a citizen, we’ve had a couple nonprofit organizations. So, we’re doing everything we can to work with these different organizations make it happen.”

Kitt said the best way to help is to go through a nonprofit that knows the ins and outs.

As for the GoFundMe pages, those also could be illegal depending on how much people donate and who is contributing.

Perlman said, ironically, the government agency that could give federal employees the OK on donations is closed due to the shutdown.

Read the gift rules for federal employees


Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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