News Article | July 20, 2022
|"I've been asked to speak about my career as a public servant at this year's graduation ceremony for my alma mater. They want to pay me a fee for my time as a speaker. I'm very honored just to be asked, I don't think I can accept the fee, right?"|
What are the limits on a public servant accepting honorarium? Are there any exceptions?
Public servants are usually prohibited from accepting or agreeing to accept honoraria – a fee for speaking – in exchange for services they would not have been asked to provide but for their position or duties. Penal Code §36.07(b) provides that a public servant may accept food, transportation and lodging in connection with a speech that is more than merely perfunctory. If the public servant's official status was not a deciding factor in the request for services, the public servant may accept an honorarium. For more information, see our updated publication Pitfalls & Perils of Public Office: Ethics.