[Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and the Rules of the House of Representatives, 110th Congress]
[House Document 109-157]
[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
ing for publication, or other similar activity, except as otherwise
provided under rule XXV.
5. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee
of the House may not accept an honorarium for a speech, a writ
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
(b) In the case of a committee employee who works under the direct
supervision of a member of the committee other than a chairman, 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.
(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
ceedings 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
refrain from 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 pro
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
(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 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.
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 Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not, with the
intent to influence on the basis of partisan political affiliation an
employment decision or employment practice of any private entity--
(a) take or withhold, or offer or threaten to take or
withhold, an official act; or
(b) influence, or offer or threaten to influence, the official
act of another.
15. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a Member, Delegate,
or Resident Commissioner may not use personal funds, official funds, or
campaign funds for a flight on an aircraft.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply if--
(1) the aircraft is operated by an air carrier or commercial
operator certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the
flight is required to be conducted under air carrier safety rules, or,
in the case of travel which is abroad, by an air carrier or commercial
operator certificated by an appropriate foreign civil aviation authority
and the flight is required to be conducted under air carrier safety
(2) the aircraft is owned or leased by a Member, Delegate,
Resident Commissioner or his or her family member (including an aircraft
owned by an entity that is not a public corporation in which the Member,
Delegate, Resident Commissioner or his or her family member has an
ownership interest, provided that such Member, Delegate, or Resident
Commissioner does not use the aircraft any more than the Member,
Delegate, Resident Commissioner, or family member's proportionate share
of ownership allows);
an individual on the basis of personal friendship; or
(3) the flight consists of the personal use of an aircraft by
a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner that is supplied by
(4) the aircraft is operated by an entity of the Federal
government or an entity of the government of any State.
(c) In this clause--
(1) the term ``campaign funds'' includes funds of any
political committee under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971,
without regard to whether the committee is an authorized committee of
the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner involved under such Act;
(2) the term ``family member'' means an individual who is
related to the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, as father,
mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father-in-law, or
(3) the term ``on the basis of personal friendship'' has the
same meaning as in clause 5 of rule XXV and shall be determined as under
clause 5(a)(3)(D)(ii) of rule XXV.
another Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner. For purposes of this
clause and clause 17, the terms ``congressional earmark,'' ``limited tax
benefit,'' and ``limited tariff benefit'' shall have the meanings given
them in clause 9 of rule XXI.
16. A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not condition
the inclusion of language to provide funding for a congressional
earmark, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff benefit in any bill
or joint resolution (or an accompanying report) or in any conference
report on a bill or joint resolution (including an accompanying joint
explanatory statement of managers) on any vote cast by
17. (a) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner who requests
a congressional earmark, a limited tax benefit, or a limited tariff
benefit in any bill or joint resolution (or an accompanying report) or
in any conference report on a bill or joint resolution (or an
accompanying joint statement of managers) shall provide a written
statement to the chairman and ranking minority member of the committee
of jurisdiction, including--
(1) the name of the Member, Delegate, or Resident
(2) in the case of a congressional earmark, the name and
address of the intended recipient or, if there is no specifically
intended recipient, the intended location of the activity;
(3) in the case of a limited tax or tariff benefit,
identification of the individual or entities reasonably anticipated to
benefit, to the extent known to the Member, Delegate, or Resident
(4) the purpose of such congressional earmark or limited tax
or tariff benefit; and
sional earmark or limited tax or tariff benefit.
(5) a certification that the Member, Delegate, or Resident
Commissioner or spouse has no financial interest in such congres
(b) Each committee shall maintain the information transmitted
under paragraph (a), and the written disclosures for any congressional
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits included in
any measure reported by the committee or conference report filed by the
chairman of the committee or any subcommittee thereof shall be open for
18. (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.
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
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 in
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 18 (which was an
undesignated paragraph at the end of the rule before
being numbered as clause 14 when 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 paragraph (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). Clauses 14 through 17 were added in the
110th Congress (secs. 202, 207, H. Res. 6, Jan. 4, 2007, p. ----; sec.
404(b), H. Res. 6, Jan. 4, 2007, p. ---- (adopted Jan. 5, 2007)). Clause
15 was amended in its entirety during the 110th Congress (H. Res. 363,
May 2, 2007, p. ----).
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
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.).
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
for the House and not the Chair to judge the conduct of Members (Nov.
17, 1987, p. 32153). In response to a parliamentary inquiry, the Chair
advised that the operation of clause 16 was not affected by a special
order of the House waiving various points of order against a measure and
against its consideration (Mar. 23, 2007, p. ----). 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. Rept. 94-76).
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.