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Widely Available Opportunities and Benefits
Members, officers, and employees may accept certain opportunities and benefits that are similarly available to individuals outside the House (House Rule XXV, clause 5(a)(3)(R)). Specifically, Members and staff may accept opportunities and benefits that are:
(1) “[A]vailable to the public or to a class consisting of all Federal employees, whether or not restricted on the basis of geographic consideration;”
(2) “[O]ffered to members of a group or class in which membership is unrelated to congressional employment;”
(3) “[O]ffered to members of an organization, such as an employees’ association or congressional credit union, in which membership is related to congressional employment and similar opportunities are available to large segments of the public through organizations of similar size;”
(4) “[O]ffered to a group or class that is not defined in a manner that specifically discriminates among Government employees on the basis of branch of Government or type of responsibility, or on a basis that favors those of higher rank or rate of pay;” or
(5) “[I]n the form of reduced membership or other fees for participation in organization activities offered to all Government employees by professional organizations if the only restrictions on membership relate to professional qualifications.”
Example 51. A hotel chain offers a discounted rate to all federal employees, regardless of whether they are on official travel. House employees may take advantage of the reduced rate under category No. 1 above.
Example 52. A staff person accumulates sufficient “frequent flyer” miles on personal travel to receive complimentary airfare to Europe. He may accept the award under category No. 2 above because the “frequent flyer” program is available to all travelers.
Example 53. An alumni association offers reduced-price travel and other benefits to its members. A staff member who is a member of the association may, under category No. 2 above, accept from the association any benefits that it makes available to all of its members.
Example 54. A local health club offers reduced membership fees to congressional staff members. Because the offer is not made to federal employees generally, and because of the limitations set forth in category Nos. 1 and 4 above, House staff may not accept the offer under this provision. A House staff member could accept such an offer under category No. 1 above if it were made to all federal employees in the Washington, D.C. area.
Example 55. An association of tax attorneys holds monthly lunch meetings, and the admission fee charged to federal tax attorneys is lower than that charged to private sector tax attorneys. A House staff member who is a tax attorney may attend the lunch meetings at the reduced fee under category No. 5 above, provided that the only restrictions on membership in the association relate to professional qualifications.