OE: Fundraising in the federal workplace – Girl Scout Cookies

WASHINGTON, DC — Around this time of the year, many federal employees wonder whether they are allowed to sell Girl Scout cookies on behalf of their scouts in the federal workplace.

The simple answer is no. Not under any circumstances, with no exceptions.

Under the Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR § 2635.808 fundraising activities), an employee may engage in fundraising only in accordance with the restrictions in part 950 of the above CFR. This section deals with the conduct of charitable fundraising in the federal workplace, specifically, in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

This means that, in accordance with the CFR, the Combined Federal Campaign is the only permissible fundraising effort allowed in the federal workplace. Selling Girl Scout cookies is a fundraising activity. Since selling cookies is not part of the CFC, it is not allowed.

Conversely, selling Girl Scout cookies outside work is permitted. However, employees must make sure they are not selling cookies to subordinates. 

If you notice another employee selling Girl Scout cookies at work, just ask the person to stop and only sell the cookies on their personal time outside work.

Questions? Feel free to contact the Office of Ethics at www.ethics.usda.gov or Ethics-NRE@oe.usda.gov.