3 Ways the Government’s Event Rules May Be Changing

Allan Rubin 65x85GovEvents_052516By Allan Rubin, Vice President of Marketing

Federal IT professionals in the DC area have no excuse for going hungry. Are breakfast muffins, rubber chicken lunches, and mini crab cakes served on toothpicks all staples in your diet? You can find them at a sponsored federal IT event, trade show, or conference pretty much any day of the week. Maybe even a glass of cheap Pinot if you’re lucky.

Like most IT companies that do business with the government, immixGroup has a busy calendar of marketing events. That’s why we’re closely watching a proposed rule that could change our (and your) event marketing plans.

Any organization that has gatherings attended by government employees should be aware of potential changes being considered by the Office of Government Ethics. The proposed rule affects the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch and specially addresses widely-attended gatherings (WAGs).

Here are three proposed changes to watch:

  1. The rule could require government employees to get written authorization for attending such a gathering. It doesn’t matter if the organization extending the invitation has interests that may be affected by the government employee’s official duties; that employee must get the green light from their ethics designee.
  1. The new rule could also affect government contractors, even if they’re not hosting the event. If a trade association is holding a conference, a contractor can’t provide funds to extend invitations to specific government employees. However, a contractor can provide funds to the association to sponsor the attendance of any unspecified government employees, as long as the employees receive written authorization.
  1. The proposed rule also clears up confusion about government employees accepting free attendance at a conference or trade show where they’re presenting information on behalf of their agency. It would allow the employee to receive free admission to the event, along with a meal as long as those meals are provided to all presenters. The meal also has to be hosted by the event’s sponsor. A contractor can even provide the government employee some small (low value) schwag like a mug, plaque, or other token of thanks for speaking at the event.

If these changes stick, government employees interested in your event may have some extra steps involved getting the green light to attend. That means good planning is in order, so extend invitations early. The proposed rule also means government employees get a little more flexibility when speaking at an event. We’ll be watching the proposed rule closely and let you know the verdict. In the meantime, check out our events calendar.

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