Business travel

Official Activity Expense Payments

Payments relating to attending or participating in private activity that is part of official duties.
Official Activity Expense Payments
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Overview

A State officer or employee may accept payment or reimbursement from third parties for travel and other expenses for an activity that is part of, and related to, his or her State job duties, provided certain conditions are met.

Who is covered?

A “covered person” includes:
  • Statewide elected officials;
  • Officers and employees of New York State agencies (including departments, boards, bureaus, divisions, commissions, and councils) (*other than unpaid and per diem officers of those entities); and
  • Members, directors, and employees of New York State public authorities and public benefit corporations (*other than unpaid and per diem members and directors of those entities).

¬  Unpaid and per diem officers are excluded from Public Officers Law § 73; however, they are still bound by the conflict of interest rules found in Public Officers Law § 74. 

Who approves my expense payment?

Payments/reimbursements for official activity expenses must be approved by your agency.

  • For a State officer or employee, submit a request for approval in writing to the agency’s Ethics Officer or other designated person. 

  • For statewide elected officials and State agency heads, submit a request to JCOPE.

Requests for approval must be made within a reasonable period of time prior to engaging in the official activity.

Restrictions on acceptance

  • Mode of travel and related expenses must be in accordance with your agency’s travel policy.  

  • Payment or reimbursement from an “interested source”1 is ordinarily impermissible.
  • Must report travel reimbursement on FDS if over $1,000.

  • The agency/approving authority is required to maintain an Official Activity Approval for each approved request, and it must contain the information specified in Part 931.

1 An "interested source" is a person or entity that does business or wants to do business with your agency, or is regulated by your agency. Generally, an interested source is any person or entity that may wish to influence a decision by you or your agency.

FDS Reporting

Any covered person who is required to file a financial disclosure statement is required to report any Official Activity Expense Payment in excess of $1,000.  

Official Activity Expense Payment Regulations (19 NYCRR Part 931) and Approval Request Form

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    Official Activity Expense Payment Approval Request

    State officers and employees, and statewide elected officials, are required to request and receive approval from their Approving Authority before accepting an official activity expense payment or service payment (as those terms are defined in 19 NYCRR Part 931 of JCOPE regulations).

     

    Download

Contact The JCOPE Attorney of the Day

The Commission administers an "Attorney of the Day" program to help provide State officials and employees, lobbyists, and clients of lobbyists with free, confidential advice, both formal and informal, on navigating the State's ethics and lobbying laws. 

Contact us by phone:
Hotline - Press "2" to speak to the attorney of the day   800-87-ETHICS (873-8442)
Contact us by email:
Mailing Address:

New York State

Joint Commission on Public Ethics

540 Broadway 

Albany, New York 12207