Sample White Paper

1
WHITE PAPER
APPLICATION OF THE EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE TO DoD CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES
AND MILITARY PERSONNEL
INTRODUCTION
In 1787, the Founding Fathers, concerned about the possibility of undue influence caused
by foreign governments providing gifts to United States ambassadors, included a provision in the
U.S. Constitution that prohibits Federal personnel from accepting compensated positions with a
foreign state or from accepting any items of value -- such as travel and gifts -- from a foreign
government, except as authorized by Congress. This little known provision, the “Emoluments
Clause,” is still in effect today and applies to Federal civilian employees and active-duty military
personnel. It also applies to retired military officers and enlisted personnel from the active and
reserve components including military officers, enlisted retirees and retired Reservists. Ethics
counselors advising DoD personnel need to understand the Emoluments Clause, especially when
advising retiring military personnel.
This paper explains how the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause applies to DoD
personnel. Specifically, the paper: (1) introduces the Emoluments Clause; (2) describes the
categories of DoD employees to which the Clause applies; (3) identifies common payments
subject to the Emoluments Clause; (4) summarizes the types of entities that are considered
“foreign states; (5) outlines the requirement and process for receiving advance approval before
accepting an emolument from a foreign government; (6) describes the penalty for violating the
Emoluments Clause, along with the debt collection procedures that are followed in situations of
noncompliance; and (7) describes the waiver process and appeal rights for situations where
Federal personnel may have unwittingly accepted an emolument without prior approval. Finally,
the paper explores several related issues that may arise once an employee obtains consent to
receive an emolument.
DISCUSSION
I. The Emoluments Clause, U. S. Constitution
The Emoluments Clause, U.S. Constitution, Art. I § 9, cl. 8 states:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding
any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the
Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind
whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
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