USGS Ethics Office

Travel

Which legal authority should you use to accept travel expenses from a non-Federal entity?  More information can be found here.

More information about the DI-2000, DI-1175, and 9-3089 can be found on our Forms webpage here

The DI-2000, along with instructions and FAQs, can be found here (August 2020).

More information about contributions (documented with a 9-3089) can be found here.  

Traveling on Official Business – 41 C.F.R. Chapter 304

Generally, your official travel must be paid for with appropriated funds. Under certain circumstances, however, an employee may accept in-kind travel benefits from a non-Federal source or DOI or your bureau/office may be reimbursed for your travel expenses by a non-Federal source.

Travel Expense Acceptance Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 1353 

This law allows Executive Branch agencies to accept reimbursement or in-kind donations from non-Federal sources for an employee’s transportation expenses (including food, lodging, incidental expenses, and registration costs) to certain functions related to the employee’s official duties.

Acceptance of travel expenses from non-Federal sources is only permitted when the employee’s travel is for attendance at a conference, meeting, seminar, training course, speaking engagement, or similar event that takes place away from the employee’s official duty station (the employee must be in a travel status). Travel under this authority may not be used for events required to carry out DOI’s statutory and regulatory functions such as investigations, inspections, audits, or site visits, or to attend vendor promotional training.

In addition to an approved travel authorization, the employee must also have an approved ethics form DI-2000 in advance of travel. Approval for accepting travel expenses is also subject to conflict of interest considerations.

Acceptance of travel expenses from non-Federal sources will not be approved if it would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of all the relevant facts to question the integrity of the programs or operations of the Department, its offices or bureaus.

It is not permissible for the employee to personally accept reimbursement from an outside source. All checks must be made out to DOI or to the employee’s bureau. With prior approval, employees may accept “in kind” items such as airline tickets, meals, or hotel accommodations. In addition to accepting travel expenses for an employee, DOI may accept travel expenses for a spouse to accompany the employee to the same event where the spouse’s presence is determined to be in the interest of DOI or the employee’s bureau.

Frequent Flyer Benefits 41 C.F.R. § 301-53

Federal employees may retain for personal use promotional items, including frequent flyer miles, earned on official travel.

Airline Bumping Benefits 
An employee may voluntarily give up his seat on an oversold flight as long as it does not interfere with his or her official duties and there is no increase in costs to the Government. If this situation applies, the employee may keep any gift or compensation under the following conditions. The employee may not claim additional travel expenses, including per diem, as a result of giving up his or her seat. The employee must take annual leave if his or her travel is delayed during duty hours and pay any expenses accrued while on leave. Any benefits resulting from an employee being involuntarily bumped from an oversold flight belong to the Government.

 

Page last updated: August 28, 2020 at 11:56am.

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Contacts

Elizabeth Dalton Baca

Associate Ethics Counselor
National Center - Room 5B312
Phone: 703-648-7422

Tim Donahue

Ethics Program Specialist
UMESC – Room C-219
Phone: 608-781-6206