[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 109th Congress]
[House Document 108-241]
[Rules of the House of Representatives]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
code of official conduct
There is hereby established by and for the House the following code of
conduct, to be known as the ``Code of Official Conduct'':
2. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of
the House and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof.
3. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House may not receive compensation and may not permit
compensation to accrue to his beneficial interest from any source, the
receipt of which would occur by virtue of influence improperly exerted
from his position in Congress.
4. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House may not accept gifts except as provided by clause 5 of rule
5. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House may not accept an honorarium for a speech, a writing for
publication, or other similar activity, except as otherwise provided
under rule XXV.
6. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner--
(a) shall keep his campaign funds separate from his personal
(b) may not convert campaign funds to personal use in excess
of an amount representing reimbursement for legitimate and verifiable
campaign expenditures; and
(c) except as provided in clause 1(b) of rule XXIV, may not
expend funds from his campaign account that are not attributable to bona
fide campaign or political purposes.
7. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner shall treat as
campaign contributions all proceeds from testimonial dinners or other
8. (a) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, or officer of
the House may not retain an employee who does not perform duties for the
offices of the employing authority commensurate with the compensation he
the chairman may require that such member affirm in writing that the
employee has complied with clause 8(a) (subject to clause 9 of rule X)
as evidence of compliance by the chairman with this clause and with
clause 9 of rule X.
(b) In the case of a committee employee who works under the direct
supervision of a member of the committee other than a chairman,
(c)(1) Except as specified in subparagraph (2)--
(A) a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not
retain his spouse in a paid position; and
(B) an employee of the House may not accept compensation for
work for a committee on which his spouse serves as a member.
(2) Subparagraph (1) shall not apply in the case of a spouse whose
pertinent employment predates the One Hundred Seventh Congress.
9. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House may not discharge and may not refuse to hire an individual,
or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
the race, color, religion, sex (including marital or parental status),
disability, age, or national origin of such individual, but may take
into consideration the domicile or political affiliation of such
participation in the business of each committee of which he is a member,
and a Member should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of
the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the
Union, unless or until judicial or executive proceedings result in
reinstatement of the presumption of his innocence or until he is
reelected to the House after the date of such conviction.
10. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner who has been
convicted by a court of record for the commission of a crime for which a
sentence of two or more years' imprisonment may be imposed should
11. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not authorize
or otherwise allow an individual, group, or organization not under the
direction and control of the House to use the words ``Congress of the
United States,'' ``House of Representatives,'' or ``Official Business,''
or any combination of words thereof, on any letterhead or envelope.
12. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), an employee of the
House who is required to file a report under rule XXVI may not
participate personally and substantially as an employee of the House in
a contact with an agency of the executive or judicial branches of
Government with respect to nonlegislative matters affecting any
nongovernmental person in which the employee has a significant financial
participation of the employee in the activity described in paragraph (a)
is necessary. A copy of each such waiver shall be filed with the
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply if an employee first advises his
employing authority of a significant financial interest described in
paragraph (a) and obtains from his employing authority a written waiver
stating that the
13. Before a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or
employee of the House may have access to classified information, the
following oath (or affirmation) shall be executed:
``I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not disclose any
classified information received in the course of my service with the
House of Representatives, except as authorized by the House of
Representatives or in accordance with its Rules.''
Copies of the executed oath (or affirmation) shall be retained by
the Clerk as part of the records of the House. The Clerk shall make
signatures a matter of public record, causing the names of each Member,
Delegate, or Resident Commissioner who has signed the oath during a week
(if any) to be published in a portion of the Congressional Record
designated for that purpose on the last legislative day of the week and
making cumulative lists of such names available each day for public
inspection in an appropriate office of the House.
14. (a) In this Code of Official Conduct, the term ``officer or
employee of the House'' means an individual whose compensation is
disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer.
(b) An individual whose services are compensated by the House
pursuant to a consultant contract shall be considered an employee of the
House for purposes of clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 13 of this rule. An
individual whose services are compensated by the House pursuant to a
consultant contract may not lobby the contracting committee or the
members or staff of the contracting committee on any matter. Such an
individual may lobby other Members, Delegates, or the Resident
Commissioner or staff of the House on matters outside the jurisdiction
of the contracting committee.
permit campaign funds to be used to defray certain official expenses
(sec. 2(j), H. Res. 5, Jan. 4, 2005, p. ----). Clause 6 was also amended
by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-194) to specify that campaign
funds be used only for bona fide campaign or political purposes. Clause
7 was amended in the 95th Congress to eliminate an exception permitting
sponsors to give notice of purpose (H. Res. 5, Jan. 4, 1975, p. 20). The
Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-194) amended clause 8 to broaden
Members' accountability for the pay and performance of staff. Clause 8
was again amended in the 106th Congress to permit telecommuting by House
employees (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 47). Clause 8(c) was added in the
107th Congress (sec. 2(t), H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24). Clause 9 was
added in the 94th Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 14, 1975, p. 20). Clause 9
was amended in the 100th Congress to prohibit discrimination in
employment based upon age (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1987, p. 6) and again the
101st Congress to conform existing staff antidiscrimination rules to the
Fair Employment Practices resolution adopted in the 100th Congress (now
contained in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-1; 2
U.S.C. 1301; see Sec. 1101, infra)). Clause 10 was added in the 94th
Congress (H. Res. 46, Apr. 16, 1975, p. 10340). Clause 11 was added in
the 96th Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 15, 1979, pp. 7-16). Clause 12 was
added by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-194) to proscribe
certain contacts as involving conflicts of interest. Clause 13 was added
in the 104th Congress (sec. 220, H. Res. 6, Jan. 4, 1995, p. 468),
except the last sentence, which was added in the 107th Congress (sec.
2(t), H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24). Clause 14 (which was an
undesignated paragraph at the end of the rule before the rules were
recodified in the 106th Congress) was amended in the 92d Congress to
bring the Delegates and Resident Commissioner within the definition of
``Member'' (H. Res. 5, Jan. 22, 1971, p. 144; H. Res. 1153, Oct. 13,
1972, pp. 36021-23). It was again amended in the 106th Congress to
include consultants among employees covered by certain provisions of the
code of conduct (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 47) and in the 107th
Congress to add the last two sentences of clause 14(b) (sec. 2(v), H.
Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24). In the 105th Congress the rule was amended
to effect three clerical corrections (H. Res. 5, Jan. 7, 1997, p. 121);
in the 106th Congress clerical and stylistic changes were effected when
the rules were recodified (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p. 47); and in the
107th Congress conforming changes were made to reflect the redesignation
of several rules (sec. 2(s), H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24) and a
clerical correction to a cross reference in clause 8(b) was effected
(sec. 2(x), H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 26).
This rule was transferred from rule XLIII to rule XXIV when the House
recodified its rules in the 106th Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1999, p.
47). It was redesignated as rule XXIII in the 107th Congress (sec. 2(s),
H. Res. 5, Jan. 3, 2001, p. 24). The rule was originally adopted in the
90th Congress (H. Res. 1099, Apr. 3, 1968, p. 8803). The jurisdiction of
the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct was redefined in the same
resolution. Clause 4 was entirely rewritten (and definitions for the
purpose of clause 4 were deleted) in the 104th Congress to reflect the
adoption of a Gift Rule (H. Res. 254, Nov. 30, 1995, p. 35077). Prior to
the 104th Congress, clause 4 had been amended in the 95th Congress to
change the prohibition against acceptance of gifts of ``substantial
value'' (H. Res. 5, Jan. 4, 1975, p. 20) and definitions for purposes of
clause 4 were added in the 96th Congress (H. Res. 287, Mar. 2, 1977, pp.
5933-53). Those definitions were amended in the Ethics Reform Act of
1989 to make conforming changes in the definition of ``relative'' (P.L.
101-194). Clause 4 was also amended: (1) in the 100th Congress to
increase from $35 to $50 the value of personal hospitality of an
individual that is not to be counted when computing the aggregate amount
of gifts per calendar year (H. Res. 5, Jan. 6, 1987, p. 6); and (2) in
the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 to revise the rules governing the
acceptance of gifts, including value thresholds and waivers (P.L. 101-
194). Those threshold and aggregate values were again adjusted by
section 314(d) of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for fiscal
year 1992 (P.L. 102-90). The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-194)
amended clause 5 to prohibit the acceptance of honoraria. Clause 6 was
amended in the 95th Congress to delete from the second sentence the
exception ``unless specifically provided by law,'' which had been added
in the 94th Congress (H. Res. 5, Jan. 4, 1975, p. 20) and was again
amended in the 109th Congress to conform it to the change in clause 1 of
rule XXIV to
For an in-depth discussion of this rule prepared by the Committee on
Standards of Official Conduct, see the House Ethics Manual (102d Cong.,
2d Sess.). The committee also has compiled a complete statement of the
rules on gifts and travel, which supersedes Chapter 2 of the 1992 House
Ethics Manual (Gifts and Travel, 106th Cong., 2d Sess.).
the House and not the Chair to judge the conduct of Members (Nov. 17,
1987, p. 32153). The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has
opined that ``conviction'' in clause 10 includes a plea of guilty or a
certified finding of guilty even though sentencing may occur later (H.
It is not a proper parliamentary inquiry to ask the Chair to interpret
the application of a criminal statute to a Member's conduct, as it is
Sec. 1095. Official conduct of Members, officers, or
employees of the House.
1. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner,
officer, or employee of the House shall conduct himself at all times in
a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.