Advisory 11-02 June 2, 2011

  1. No New Pay, No New Thresholds.

    Because the Executive Branch has been placed in a pay freeze for 2011 and 2012, the 2011 statutory threshold for outside earned income is frozen ar $26,955 (15% of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule). Note this change from the previous SOCO Advisory. The initial advisory has been corrected.

  2. Simplified Acquisition Threshold Amended.

    The simplified acquisition threshold was amended in August 2010, effective October 1, 2010, raising this threshold from $100,000 to $150,000. If you are subject to the Procurement Integrity Law, the threshold for recusal when receiving a job overture is now $150,000.

    75 FR 53129-53135 (Aug. 30, 2010) effective October 1, 2010.

  3. Raising the Threshold on the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act.

    The definition of "minimal value" under the foreign gifts and decorations act was raised from $335 to $350.

    That means if you accept a tangible gift from a foreign government, it cannot exceed the value in the United States of $350, and if it does, you must turn it over to the State Department or purchase the gift. This rule is retroactive to January 1, 2011.

  4. FY2010 Listing of Companies with Contracts with DoD of $25,000 or More.

    The Fiscal Year 2010 listing of companies with DoD contracts of $25,000 or more is now available on the SOCO web site, under Ethics Resource Library here.

  5. FY2010 Listing of Top 100 DoD Companies.

    The most current listing of the top 100 defense contractors is now available on the SOCO web site here.

  6. Determining Reasonable Costs Under JER 3-211.a(7).

    SOCO Advisory 09-03, March 23, 2009, provided guidance regarding when attendance fees at conferences may be deemed reasonable for attending a conference where DoD personnel would be speaking for the purposes of JER 3-211.a(7). At that time, it was determined that attendance fees of $645 per day or less were considered reasonable (worldwide) and noted that this figure would be adjusted every three years by the percentage increase/decrease in the minimal value amount established by GSA under the Foreign Gift and Decorations Act (FGDA). GSA announced on May 26, 2011, 76 Fed.Reg.30550, that "minimal value" under the FGDA has been increased to $350. This increase was retroactive to January 1, 2011. Accordingly, the reasonable per day attendance fee for purposes of JER 3-211.a(7) is now $675.

    As a reminder, the highest rate charged to any attendee (including late fees) will be used for purposes of the $675 per day reasonable fee. The $675 per day figure may be adjusted upward but only by the percentage amount by which the per diem rate for the conference location exceeds that for Washington, DC. For example, if an NFE conference will be held in New York City and the per diem rate for New City is 15% higher than that for Washington, DC, the reasonable daily fee for the New York event would be $776 ($675 x 15% = $101 + $675 = $776). No downward adjustment will be required where the per diem rate for the NFE event location is less than that for Washington, DC.


DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this advisory is to disseminate relevant information and sources of general guidance, policy and law on Government Ethics issues to the Department of Defense ethics community. Advisories are not intended to be and should not be cited as authoritative guidance, DoD policy, or law.