Eligible Congressional Member Organization Handbook

Table of Contents

Introduction

General

• Registration
• Membership
• Funding and Resources
• Expenses
• Budgeting and Disclosure
• Disbursements
• Incidental Use
• Overspending

Staff

• General
• Employee Ceiling
• Contractors
• Civilian Annuitant
• Waivers
• Detailees
• Interns
• Appointment
• Dual Compensation
• Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
• Financial Disclosure
• Lump Sum Payments
• Pay Adjustments
• Payroll Schedule
• Rates of Compensation
• Terminations
• Leave

Office Expenses

• Appliances
• Clipping Services
• Decorating Expenses
• Deposits
• Drug Testing
• Dues
• Educational Expenses
• Employment-Related Expenses
• Food and Beverage Expenses
• Framing
• Furniture
• Gifts and Donations
• Greetings
• Late Fees
• Mass Transit Benefit
• Official Meetings
• Parking
• Publications
• Staff Meetings
• Supplies
• Telecommuting
• Telecommunications
• Audio and Video Expenses
• Printing and Production
• Stationery
• Use of Stationery
• Business Cards
• Equipment

Communications

• General
     o Electronic
     o Stationary
     o Inside Mail
     o Prohibition on the Frank
• Press Conferences
• Inside Mail
• Electronic Communications
• Subscribed Emails
• Non-subscribed Emails
• Websites
• Website Content
• Name (URL)

Transportation

• General
• Officially-Leased Vehicles

Seeking Reimbursement

• Vouchers
• Reimbursement and Direct Payment
• Expired Appropriations
• Tax Exempt Letters
• Work Product and Assets of the ECMO

Modifications

 

Introduction

Members' Representational Allowance Funding and Its Use by Eligible Congressional Member Organizations.

Eligible Congressional Member Organizations
The following regulations of the Committee on House Administration, collectively known as the Eligible Congressional Member Organizations Handbook (“ECMO Handbook”), govern all expenditures from an ECMO account. 

The Handbook regulations assist the Chair of the ECMOs in determining whether expenses are reimbursable. Therefore, the Handbook contains broad descriptions of reimbursable expenses, but is not an exhaustive list of such expenses.
Questions about reimbursement of an expense should be directed to the Committee on House Administration at x58281 prior to incurring the expense.

Administrative, financial and non-legislative support services (e.g., equipment purchases, technology standards and services, office supplies, room reservation and set-up) are acquired through the Office of the House Chief Administrative Officer (“CAO”). For further information about the CAO's services, please refer to HouseNet, the House intranet (https: housenet.house.gov) or the CAO's services office, First Call, at x58000.

The Handbook is a collection of regulations issued by the Committee on House Administration. In drafting these regulations, the Committee consults with other committees of the House, House leadership, Member office staff, and the Officers of the House.

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General

Registration

For the 114th Congress, CMOs that meet certain criteria established by the House Rules may register with the Committee on House Administration as Eligible Congressional Member Organizations (ECMO).
ECMOs must provide the following information:
1. Name

2. Statement of Purpose

3. Chair and Vice Chair of the ECMO

4. Employees designated to work on issues related to the ECMO (minimum of three employees are required).
CMOs should register through a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration. CMOs granted ECMO status will be informed by the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration.

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Membership

The Chair and Vice Chair of the ECMO must be a Member of the House. Members of both the House and Senate may participate in ECMOs. The participation of Senators in an ECMO does not impact the scope of authorized ECMO activities in any regard.

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Funding and Resources

Unlike Member and committee offices, ECMOs are not entitled to specific numbers of staff positions.  An ECMO may acquire staff positions and the resources to fund the positions only by written agreement between a participating ECMO Member and the ECMO Chair.  All agreements must be filed with the Committee on House Administration.  Neither ECMOs nor individual Members may accept goods, funds, or services from private organizations or individuals to support the ECMO.

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Expenses

When an expense is incurred, the Chair of the ECMO must determine the primary purpose for the expenditure. Is the primary purpose for the expenditure official and representational of the ECMO? Or is it primarily related to personal, campaign-related political party, campaign, Member office or committee activities? Only expenses the primary purpose of which are official and representational of the ECMO and which are incurred in accordance with the Handbook are reimbursable.

1. The ECMO’s funds derived from the MRA’s pursuant to an agreement may only be used for official and representational expenses of the ECMO.

2. The Chair of the ECMO may expend personal funds in support of official and representational duties.

3. The MRA and/or the ECMO account may not be used to pay for any expenses related to activities or events that are primarily social in nature.

4. The ECMO funds may not pay for personal expenses.

5. The ECMO funds may not pay for campaign expenses.

6. The ECMO funds may not pay for campaign-related political party expenses.

7. The ECMO funds may not pay for committee expenses.

8. Committee resources may not pay for an ECMO's official and representational expenses.

9. Except where authorized by the Committee on Ethics, campaign funds may not pay for an ECMO official and representational expenses.

10. A Member may not maintain, or have maintained for his use, an unofficial office account for the purpose of defraying or reimbursing ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in support of an ECMO's official and representational duties.

11. An ECMO may not accept from any private source in-kind support having monetary value for an official activity.

12. The Chair of the ECMO is personally responsible for the payments of any official and representational expenses incurred that exceed the provided ECMO funds or that are incurred but are not reimbursable under these regulations.

13. Unless specifically authorized by an applicable provision of federal law, House Rules, or Committee Regulations, no Member, relative of the Member, or anyone with whom the Member has a professional or legal relationship may directly benefit from the expenditure of ECMO funds.

14. The ECMO funds are available for services provided and expenses incurred from January 3 of one year through January 2 of the following year. All expenses incurred will be charged to the allowance available on the date the services were provided or the expenses were incurred. Upon the death, resignation, or expulsion of a Member who is an ECMO Chair, the ECMO Vice-Chair shall assume the duties of the ECMO Chair until such time as a new ECMO Chair is elected.

15. Requests to obligate prior year funds after January 2 of the succeeding year will be considered by the Committee when a Chair of an ECMO provides documentation demonstrating a bona fide intent to obligate the prior year's funds during the applicable year.

16. The ECMO funds are not transferable between years.

17. ECMOs may not use official resources to misrepresent their current official positions or titles within the House.

18. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1913, ECMO funds may not be used for certain activities in the absence of authorization by Congress. Contact the Committee on House Administration at x58281 for more information.

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Budgeting and Disclosure

The Committee recommends that each ECMO establish an annual budget for the MRA they receive. To assist in this process, the Office of Finance sends each ECMO monthly statements showing year-to-date expenditures and obligated amounts. The quarterly expenditures reflected in these statements are compiled and published as the Quarterly Statement of Disbursements, which is a public document.

Each ECMO must submit to the Committee on House Administration, by the 18th of each month, a report signed by the Committee Chair on the activities of the committee during the preceding month. The monthly report must include the following:
a. Statement of expenses for the month and year to date. An ECMO must reconcile their figures with the Monthly Financial Statement prior to submitting the monthly reports.

b. List of ECMO employees, job titles and gross monthly salaries (a copy of the monthly Payroll Certification Form is acceptable).

c. Certification by the Chair of the reporting ECMO that the report is available to Members of the ECMO for examination.
Monthly reports for each ECMO will be available for public inspection at the Committee on House Administration.

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Disbursements

Disbursements from the ECMO are made on a reimbursement or direct payment basis and require specific documentation and the ECMO’s Chair’s certification as to accuracy and compliance with applicable federal laws, House Rules, and Committee regulations.
Reimbursements and payments from the ECMO funds may be made only to the ECMO Chair, the ECMO's employees, or a vendor providing services to support the operation of the ECMO's offices.

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Incidental Use

Incidental personal use of equipment and supplies owned or leased by, or the cost of which is reimbursed by the House of Representatives is permitted only when such use is negligible in nature, frequency, time consumed, and expense.
For example, limited use of government resources to access the Internet, to send or receive personal email, or to make personal phone calls is permissible, so long as the use meets the above criteria, and otherwise conforms with the Regulations of the Committee on House Administration and the Code of Official Conduct (House Rule XXIII).
Each ECMO office may adopt a more restrictive incidental use policy.

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Overspending

Each ECMO Chair is personally responsible for the payment of any official and representational expenses incurred that exceed available ECMO funds. If an ECMO incurs an obligation to the U.S. House of Representatives and the amount of the obligation incurred exceeds the ECMO’s funds, the Chair of the ECMO shall pay the obligation from personal funds. If the ECMO Chair fails to pay the obligation voluntarily, the CAO will deduct the amount owed from any pay, mileage, or expense money due to the ECMO Chair in the case of a sitting Member or through an administrative offset or legal action in the case of a former Member. The Office of Finance will notify the ECMO Chair if that ECMO is projected to overspend the available ECMO funds.

Contact the Office of Finance at x57474 or the Committee on House Administration at x58281 for assistance with accounting and budgeting.

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Staff

General

No ECMO has hiring authority without the contribution of a staff position, or “hiring slots,” by a participating ECMO Member.  Once contributed to the ECMO by an ECMO Member, the ECMO Chair will enjoy authority to hire, establish the terms and conditions of employment, and terminate the employment of ECMO staff made possible by the contribution of the hiring slot by the ECMO Member. 

These terms and conditions must be consistent with applicable federal laws and House Rules. Personnel actions affecting employment positions in the House of Representatives must be free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including marital or parental status), service in the military, disability, or age.
1. Personnel actions affecting employment positions in the House of Representatives must be free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including marital or parental status), service in the military, disability, or age.

2. A Member or ECMO may not retain an employee on payroll who does not perform official duties commensurate with the compensation received for the offices of the employing authority. (House Rule XXIII, clause 8(a)).

3. "Employee" means an individual appointed to a position of employment in the House of Representatives by an authorized employing authority including individuals receiving pay disbursed by the CAO and individuals in a Leave Without Pay or furlough status.

4. “Staff” refers collectively to employees who serve in the office of an ECMO. 

5. Annual rates of pay may not exceed the amount specified in the Speaker's Pay Order.

6. Total compensation in any month including any lump sum and regular pay, student loan program payments, (including cash reimbursement for accrued annual leave) may not exceed 1/12th of the maximum rate of pay specified in the Speaker's Pay Order.

7. Retroactive pay adjustments are not authorized.

8. Government contributions to retirement, life insurance, Thrift Savings Plan, transit benefits, Student Loan Repayment Program and health benefits programs are not charged to the MRA or ECMO funds.

9. Each month, the ECMO will receive a Payroll Certification Form from the Office of Payroll and Benefits that lists the annual pay and gross pay earned for each employee.  If an employee is a relative of a current Member of Congress, the nature of the relationship to the Member must be noted on the Payroll Certification Form.  The ECMO Chair must certify the information and return the form to the Office of Payroll and Benefits no later than the 15th day of the month. Contact the Office of Payroll and Benefits at x51435 for payroll forms.

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Employee Ceiling

AN ECMO may employee staff only pursuant to an agreement between an ECMO Member contributing a hiring slot and the ECMO Chair.   No ECMO may simultaneously employ more than 18 individuals. 

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Contractors

ECMO’s may contract with firms or individuals only for general, non-legislative and non-financial, office services (e.g., equipment maintenance, systems integration, data entry, staff training, photography, custodial services, and web services) for a specified time period not to exceed the calendar year. Such contracts are reimbursable. Such contractors are not employees of the House and are ineligible for government-provided personnel benefits.
Contractors do not require a staff slot.
ECMO Chairs are advised to consult the Committee on House Administration when entering into such contracts.

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Civilian Annuitant

If an ECMO employs a federal civil service annuitant, the amount of the annual annuity, when added to the annual rate of pay at which the employee is to be paid by the ECMO, may not exceed the highest rate of basic pay as authorized by the Speaker's Pay Order. The combined total of the civil service annuity and the amount of the salary will be charged to the ECMO.

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Waivers

ECMO offices will not be granted waivers of applicable annuity reductions or pay reductions.

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Detailees

The term “detailee” means a non-Congressional federal employee assigned to a committee for a period of up to one year.
Pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 4301(f), detailees may not be assigned to an ECMO office.

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Interns

Only paid interns may be the subject of an agreement between a Member office and an ECMO.

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Appointment

The official appointment of each employee requires the ECMO Chair’s signature on the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF). Hiring actions will not be processed without the required written agreement between the participating ECMO Member and the ECMO Chair.  ECMO Chairs should use the ECMO Consolidated Personnel Action Form/Employment Agreement to submit the initial hiring action.  

When hiring new staff to the U.S. House of Representatives, all personnel appointment PAFs, along with the completed appointment package, must be submitted to the Office of Payroll and Benefits no less than two business days prior to the effective date of hire. Completed appointment packages include the Appointment PAF, employment eligibility documents (U.S. Citizen and Non-U.S. Citizen requirements), Form I-9, Direct Deposit, W4, TSP-1 enrollment form, and Oath of Office.

Subsequent payroll transactions (changing from one House office to another, pay adjustments, title changes, furlough status, terminations, etc.) must also be made on the appropriate PAF or payroll form with the ECMO Chair’s signature. PAFs and payroll forms are due to the Office of Payroll and Benefits by the 15th day of the month in which the adjustment is effective to be included in the monthly regular payroll cycle, which is paid on the last business day of the month. PAFs and forms not submitted by the 15th of the month must be received by the Office of Payroll and Benefits no later than the last business day of the month in which the payroll transaction is effective. These transactions submitted will be processed in the off-cycle payroll.

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Dual Compensation

The aggregate gross annual salary of an employee receiving payment from the House who is also receiving payment from the U.S. Senate, Architect of the Capitol, or any other department or agency of the U.S. Government, may not exceed the gross annual rate established by 5 U.S.C. § 5533. For the current applicable dual compensation rate, contact the Office of Payroll and Benefits at x51435.

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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

As employing offices, ECMOs are subject to the FLSA as applied to the House of Representatives through the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.  Therefore, ECMO Chairs are responsible for assuring compliance with the minimum-wage/maximum-hour provisions of the FLSA.  In cases where non-exempt ECMO staff may be shared with other employing offices, an ECMO Chair must coordinate the other office to ensure compliance with the FLSA.  For further information please contact the Committee or the Office of House Employment Counsel.

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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

As employing offices, ECMOs are subject to the FMLA as applied to the House of Representatives through the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.  Applicable regulations provide that in some circumstances, ECMO staff may be considered as jointly employed by the ECMO and the ECMO Member who contributed the hiring slot corresponding to the ECMO staff person.  In such cases, the joint employers may agree to become “primary” and “secondary” for purposes of fulfilling FMLA obligations to the employees.  To understand FMLA obligations fully, please contact the Committee or the Office of House Employment Counsel.

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Financial Disclosure

Members and employees receiving basic pay at a rate equal to or greater than 120 percent of the minimum pay for GS-15 for at least 60 days during any calendar year must file a Financial Disclosure Statement upon appointment, termination, and annually on May 15th.

Ordinary and necessary expenses incurred by ECMO and their employees, in support of the filing of reports consistent with the provisions of the Ethics in Government Act, are reimbursable.

In accordance with CHA Committee Resolution # 110-7, “Each House employee who is simultaneously employed by three or more House employing authorities for more than 60 days during a calendar year must file a Financial Disclosure Statement under 5 U.S.C. app § 101 et seq. by May 15 of each year.” This statement is required regardless of total compensation for the year. Contact the Committee on Ethics at x57103 for guidance concerning the current applicable rate of pay and other information regarding Financial Disclosure requirements.

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Lump Sum Payments

An ECMO Chair may authorize a lump sum payment to an employee for any purpose consistent with the following:
1. Payments must be consistent with House Rule XXIII, clause 8(a), which requires that employees perform official duties commensurate with the compensation received. Employees may not be compensated from public funds to perform non-official, personal, campaign-related political party, or campaign activities on behalf of the ECMO, a Member, the employee, or anyone else;

2. A lump sum payment may not be more than the monthly pay of the employee receiving the lump sum payment;

3. Lump sum payments may be for services performed during more than one month;

4. ECMO’s may provide lump sum payments for accrued annual leave only if such leave was accrued in accordance with written personnel policies established prior to the accrual of such leave;

5. Total compensation in any month including any lump sum payment, student loan payments, and regular pay (including cash reimbursement for accrued annual leave) may not exceed 1/12th of the maximum rate of pay specified in the Speaker's Pay Order;

6. Lump sum payments will be disclosed separately in the Quarterly Statement of Disbursements;

7. Lump sum payments are considered as part of "rate of pay" under the Speaker's Pay Order;

8. Lump sum payments are considered "supplemental wages" for taxation purposes; and

9. Lump sum payments are not considered as part of "basic pay" for purposes of calculating Thrift Savings Plan, life insurance, or federal pensions.
Contact the Committee on Ethics at x57103 for information on the treatment of lump-sum payments with regard to financial disclosure, post-employment restrictions, and outside earned income limitations.

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Pay Adjustments

An ECMO Chair may adjust, in any month, an employee's pay to reflect exceptional, meritorious, or less than satisfactory service.
Such adjustments must be received by the Office of Payroll and Benefits on or before the 15th day of the month in which the adjustment is to be effective.

Retroactive pay adjustments are not authorized.

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Payroll Schedule

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 5505, the monthly payroll is based on a 30-day pay period.
Payment is made on the last business day of the month.

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Rates of Compensation

The ECMO Chair is responsible for adhering to the applicable minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ($7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009).

Interns are not employees for purposes of compliance with the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The maximum rate of pay is established for Member offices by the Speaker's Pay Order.

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Terminations

Terminations must be made on a Payroll Authorization Form and submitted to the Office of Payroll and Benefits as soon as the date of termination is known. If the termination notice is received by Payroll and Benefits after the 15th day of the month during which the termination becomes effective, the payroll for that month may have already been processed.

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Leave

The ECMO Chair determines the terms and conditions of employment, including provisions for leave (e.g., annual, administrative, and sick).
Contact the Office of House Employment Counsel at x57075 for model leave policies.

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Office Expenses

Appliances

Ordinary and necessary expenses for small appliances (microwaves, coffee makers, etc.) for use in the ECMO offices are reimbursable. Equipment, including appliances, with a purchase price over $500 must be added to the ECMO's inventory by contacting CAO First Call at x58000.

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Clipping Services

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to clipping services (newspapers, periodicals, magazines, etc.) are reimbursable.

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Decorating Expenses

Decorations of nominal value (e.g., frames, bookends, flags, seals, rugs, etc.) for ECMO offices are reimbursable.
Contact the Committee on House Administration at x58281 for a list of government agencies that provide wall decorations free of charge.

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Deposits

Security and other deposits are not reimbursable and must be paid from the ECMO Chair's personal funds. Each ECMO Chair should notify vendors that any return of deposits should be made to the ECMO Chair.

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Drug Testing

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to drug testing, in accordance with the ECMO's written drug-testing policy, are reimbursable.
Offices should consult with the Office of House Employment Counsel at x57075 when establishing drug-testing policies.

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Dues

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 5946, dues, membership fees, assessments, and annual fees are not reimbursable.

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Educational Expenses

Ordinary and necessary expenses for ECMO employees to attend vendor-sponsored conferences, seminars, briefings, professional training, and informational programs related to the official duties are reimbursable.
1. ECMO Members or employees may not be reimbursed for expenses to attend educational programs in order to obtain a primary, secondary, graduate, postgraduate, or professional degree.

2. Expenses associated with acquiring or maintaining professional certification or licensing are not reimbursable, except for basic first-aid, CPR, or notary certifications.

3. Informational programs are events in which interaction with participants relates to official business, including but not limited to discussions about the federal role of government in various issue areas, or are discussions of policy matters, etc. Information programs should not be primarily social in nature, including but not limited to awards events not related to official business, galas or balls that are primarily social, or other events in which official interaction is more incidental than is the primary purpose.

4. Travel and lodging expenses are not reimbursable with the exception of local parking and taxi fares within the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

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Employment-Related Expenses

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to filling employment vacancies are reimbursable.
The following expenses are not reimbursable:
1. Transportation to and from employment interviews; or

2. Relocation expenses upon acceptance or termination of employment; or

3. Relocation expenses incidental to a change in duty station.

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Food and Beverage Expenses

Except where noted, the ECMO Chair and employees may be reimbursed for food and beverage expenses incidental to an official and representational meeting that includes one or more person(s) who are not a Member or employee of the House.

The ECMO may have its Members and employees reimbursed for food and beverage expenses no more than two times per year for legislative planning session meetings involving Members and staff.

ECMO Members and employees may not be reimbursed for food and beverage expenses related to social activities or social events (e.g., hospitality, receptions, entertainment, holiday or personal celebrations, and swearing-in or inauguration day celebrations).
ECMO Members and employees may not be reimbursed for the cost of alcoholic beverages.

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Framing

Framing services for items to be displayed in the ECMO's DC offices are reimbursable. In Washington, DC, when an ECMO uses the in-House framing service provided by the CAO, costs will be automatically charged to the ECMO funds.

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Furniture

Furniture (e.g., furniture, rugs, carpet, draperies, repairs, etc.) is supplied and maintained by the CAO for Washington, DC, ECMO offices through First Call at x58000 without charge to the ECMO. Furniture is not reimbursable for ECMO offices.

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Gifts and Donations

No gifts or donations are reimbursable by the ECMO.

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Greetings

Expenses related to the purchase or distribution of greetings, including holiday celebrations, condolences, and congratulations for personal distinctions (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc.), are not reimbursable.

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Late Fees

Ordinary and necessary fees related to late payments incurred beyond the control of the ECMO Chair are reimbursable.

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Mass Transit Benefit

ECMO staff working in Washington, DC are eligible for transit benefits. For information regarding this benefit, please contact Office of Payroll and Benefits at x51435.

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Official Meetings

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to conducting official meetings are reimbursable. These expenses include, but are not limited to, chairs, tables, audio/video equipment, etc.

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Parking

Please see the Committee on House Administration website for the House Parking Policy.

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Publications

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to purchasing or subscribing to publications, including but not limited to research materials, reference books, informational brochures, electronic services, or periodicals are reimbursable.

All invoices for subscriptions received by the Office of Finance through the close of business January 2 will be debited from the current ECMO year. Subscriptions beginning on January 1 or 2 may be debited from either allowance year, as directed by the ECMO Chair.
Subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals may exceed the ECMO Chair's term.
Subscriptions that exceed an ECMO Chair's term in office will be assigned to the ECMO Chair's successor.

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Staff Meetings

ECMO Members and ECMO staff may attend staff meetings (e.g., staff retreats, internal staff development, legislative planning sessions, etc.) at a Member-authorized location in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area for official purposes, and may seek reimbursement for expenses relating to attendance at such meetings, provided that such expenses are otherwise consistent with all other Handbook regulations. ECMO Staff may not be reimbursed for lodging expenses where staff meetings are held.
The ECMO funds may not be used for social events or activities.

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Supplies

Office supplies to support the conduct of the ECMO's official duties are reimbursable.
The Office Supply Store (“OSS”) is located in Room B-217 Longworth at x53321. OSS issues each ECMO an Account Card for official purchases, which may only be used by the ECMO Chair and/or staff. The cost of all items purchased with the Account Card is charged to the ECMO available funds.

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Telecommuting

Ordinary and necessary expenses incurred to facilitate telecommuting by ECMO staff, including provision of portable computers and other telecommunications devices, are reimbursable to the ECMO when in compliance with the Committee on House Administration telecommuting policy.

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Telecommunications

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to the official use, including periodic or flat service fees, of telecommunications lines (voice and data) in the residence of an ECMO Chair or employee are not reimbursable.

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Audio and Video Expenses

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to audio and video recording and materials, including but not limited to the following, are reimbursable:

1. Filming related to the appearance of an ECMO Chair or ECMO's employee at an official event; or

2. Videotapes and transcripts of commercial broadcasts related to the ECMO for in-office use; or

3. Videotapes that are produced by the ECMO or videotapes that are provided to an ECMO and authorized by the providing entity to be reproduced for official distribution; or

4. Video teleconferencing services incurred in support of the ECMO's official duties.

Except where authorized, the costs related to purchasing television broadcast time are not reimbursable. ECMOs are subject to copyright laws when utilizing outside materials.

In Washington, DC, the House Recording Studio is available for audio and video services. Contact the House Recording Studio at x53941 for information on services, charges, and availability.
There are certain election-related restrictions on mass communications. Please consult the Committee on House Administration prior to use of any video or audio services.

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Printing and Production

Printed materials produced by the ECMO are reimbursable when they are in compliance with the Franking Regulations. Reimbursable printing and production expenses include, but are not limited to:

1. Administrative papers (casework tracking forms, personnel record forms, etc.)

2. Legislative papers (bills, drafts, summaries, amendments, etc.)

3. Business cards for the ECMO Chair and their employees

4. Stationery

Printed materials are prohibited from use as an unsolicited mass communication by the ECMO. Items not distributed as a mass communication are not required to meet Franking content standards, but the content must be official.

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Stationery

Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. § 734, ordinary and necessary expenses associated with the printing and production of official stationery are reimbursable. Official stationery may be procured from the Government Publishing Office.
Contact the Congressional Printing Management Division at 202-512-0224 and the Office of Publication Services at x65200 for stationery requests.
Additional stationery requests (writing paper, bond, etc.) are reimbursable.
Official stationery must contain the following information:
1. ECMO's name;

2. ECMO Chair's name; and

3. Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, or comparable language.

Official stationery may include professional license(s).

Official stationery may not contain the following information:
1. Seals other than the Great Seal, Congressional Seal, or State Seal

2. Member's political party identification

3. Slogans

4. Private entity information or endorsement

5. Campaign contact information (e.g., address, phone number, email address)

6. Greetings

7. Picture or likeness of the Member

8. Family crest

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Use of Stationery

Official stationery may be used only for a letter or other document the content of which must be official in nature. Content must comply with the Franking Regulations. However, an ECMO may not use the Frank. Contact the Franking Commission at x60647 for information on content of official correspondence.
Contact the Committee on Ethics at x57103 for information on the use of official stationery.

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Business Cards

Ordinary and necessary expenses for business cards for ECMO Chair and employees are reimbursable. Business cards must contain the name of the employing authority and accurately describe the position to which the employee has been appointed.
Business cards may be obtained through Office Supply Service at x53321.

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Equipment

Ordinary and necessary expenses for equipment for use in the ECMO offices are reimbursable subject to Committee regulations. For all questions relating to equipment and equipment-related issues, refer to the Guide to Outfitting and Maintaining an Office of the U.S. House of Representatives, available at (https://cha.house.gov). For further information relating to any of the CAO's services, please refer to HouseNet or call First Call at x58000.

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Communications

General

1. Electronic

Members may devote a section of their official website to ECMO issues.

2. Stationary

Official funds of the ECMO may be used to print or pay for stationery for the ECMO.

3. Inside Mail

A Member may use inside mail to communicate information related to an ECMO.

4. Prohibition on the Frank

ECMOs may not use the Frank, nor may a Member lend his or her Frank to an ECMO.
A Member may use their official resources outside of the Frank for communications related to the purpose of the ECMO. Any such communications must still comply with Franking Regulations.

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Press Conferences

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to conducting an official press conference are reimbursable.

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Inside Mail

1. Inside Mail is a delivery service for the transmittal of interoffice communications provided by House Postal Operations, pursuant to the regulations established by the Committee on House Administration. Inside mail service is available among offices in the Capitol, the House and Senate Office Buildings, the Library of Congress, the White House, the State Department, and the Social Security Administration.

2. Inside mail is provided to support the conduct of the official business of Members, committees, Officers of the House, and Congressional Staff Organizations.

3. Inside mail service may not be used to circulate letters which are personal or campaign-related, or which constitute commercial advertising except when postage is paid for with personal expenses.

4. All mail to be delivered via inside mail should be clearly marked Inside Mail and should be deposited in an Inside Mailbox.

5. Authorized items for circulation of inside mail include:

a. A Dear Colleague or similar correspondence relating to the official and representational business of the Member. This correspondence must be on official letterhead and signed by the Member.
b. A position paper, report, legislative analysis, or any material published or produced by another individual or organization that a Member wishes to circulate. This correspondence must be accompanied by a signed cover letter on official letterhead. A copy of the cover letter must be attached to each item to be distributed.
c. Mail in a reusable blue U.S. House of Representatives Inside Mail envelope.
d. Mail produced by Congressional Staff Organizations registered with the Committee on House Administration.

Dear Colleague letters and similar correspondence must be transmitted to House Postal Operations, in the appropriate quantity, with a cover letter signed by the Member, indicating to whom the mailing should be distributed. For information regarding these procedures, contact House Postal Operations at x63764.

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Electronic Communications

Ordinary and necessary expenses related to electronic communications (Internet, fax machines, etc.) are reimbursable.
• No unsolicited mass communications are allowed.

• All official electronic communications must comply with House information technology and security policies as approved by the Committee on House Administration.

• All official electronic communications sent to an email list of 100 or more individuals must include a usable opt-out in the body of the email that enables an individual to opt-out from the Member’s email list. Opt-out requests must be honored. These mailings much comply with IT Policy 007.0 - Email List Management Policy as approved by the Committee.

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Subscribed Emails

A subscribed email is an email sent to individuals who have taken a willful action to subscribe to the ECMO's email list. ECMOs must notify individuals who subscribe to email updates that the individual is authorizing the ECMO to send regular email updates from the ECMO to the individual's email account. All email updates to subscribers must contain an option that enables the individual to unsubscribe from the email list. ECMOs may send subscribed email updates without obtaining an advisory opinion, but the contents must still adhere to Franking regulations.

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Non-subscribed Emails

If each email address used in a mass communication was not obtained with an individual subscribing for subscribed email updates, then the ECMO may not send the communication until those email addresses obtained without consent are removed.

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Websites

The ECMO Chair may request a URL for an ECMO, provided that the request complies with the ECMO domain name regulations issued by the Committee on House Administration. Web pages using such a URL need not have the same design or layout as the Web site of the sponsoring Member. The ECMO may also be hosted on the sponsoring Member’s website.

Internet sites paid for with official funds (Websites) are a series of centrally maintained Web pages, accessible to the public via the Internet and stored on a specific host. The home page is the first accessible page for that site.
1. Ordinary and necessary expenses associated with the creation and continued operation of Websites, in support of the ECMO's official duties, are reimbursable.

2. Except as noted in item 6, below, an ECMO Web sites must be located in the HOUSE.GOV host-domain and must be hosted in conformance with the regulations issued by the Committee on House Administration.

3. ECMO Websites may be maintained by either House Information Resources (HIR), the ECMO office, or a private vendor authorized to provide Web services to the House in compliance with the regulations issued by the Committee on House Administration.

4. ECMOs' Websites may link to Member and Committee Websites, but Member or Committee Websites may not be located on Websites paid for by the ECMO funds.

5. Members may include information within their Website about ECMO issues and activities. All ECMO references within a Website must relate to the Member's official and representational duties.

6. In addition to their official HOUSE.GOV website, an ECMO may establish profiles, pages, channels or any similar presence on third-party sites that allow individuals or organizations to offer information about themselves to the public (Social Media Accounts). ECMO-controlled content on Social Media Accounts is subject to the same requirements as content on ECMO websites.

7. Websites should be compliant with the accessibility standards set out in § 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

8. Websites may link to non-government sites, so long as the link content relates to the ECMO's official duties and the content would not otherwise violate any other House rules, regulations, or federal laws. Internet resources may not contain content that misrepresents an ECMO or Member's current role in Congress.

9. For ECMOs internet social media accounts, the ECMO Chair should ensure their social media URLs and account names reflect their position. Departing ECMO Chairs may not maintain their official social media pages/sites after they leave the Chair of an ECMO; however, they may retain their personal accounts provided the name (and other identifying information) of such accounts clearly do not convey the impression that the former ECMO Chair is still a head of the ECMO, or that the account is an official account of the House.

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Website Content

The content of an ECMO Website:

1. The official content of any material posted by the ECMO on any website must be in compliance with Federal law and House Rules and Regulations applicable to official communications and germane to the conduct of the Member's official and representational duties. Accessing a web site (whether by using a link or by other means) is to be treated as a "solicited communication" from an ECMO office.

2. May not include personal (outside of incidental references), political party (except for political party affiliations), or campaign information.

3. May not include grassroots lobbying or solicit support for an ECMO's position.

4. May not generate, circulate, solicit, or encourage signing petitions.

5. May not include any advertisement for any private individual, firm, or corporation, or imply in any manner that the government endorses or favors any specific commercial product, commodity, or service.

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Name (URL)

The URL name for an official Website located in the HOUSE.GOV domain must be recognizably derivative or representative of the name of the ECMO office sponsoring the Website and comply with the regulations issued by the Committee on House Administration.
The URL name for an official Website located in the HOUSE.GOV domain may not:
1. Be a slogan.

2. Imply in any manner that the House endorses or favors any specific commercial product, commodity, or service.

3. Be deceptive and must accurately represent the ECMO's name.

A Member may use personal funds to purchase a personalized URL as a locating address, so long as it points back and resolves to the official website address.

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Transportation

General

Transportation by ECMO staff for nominal taxi and parking fees within the Washington DC Metropolitan Area is reimbursable up to $2,000 annually. 

Living expenses and commuting expenses are not reimbursable, except in extraordinary circumstances (e.g., extreme weather conditions, staff working beyond availability of mass transit or rideshare arrangements, etc.) when an ECMO receives written authorization from the Committee. "Living expenses" include meals, housing, and other personal expenses incurred at the ECMO's employee's residence or duty station. "Commuting expenses" are transportation expenses incurred by an ECMO employee while commuting between their residence and duty station.

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Officially Leased Vehicles

No ECMO funds may be used for expenses related to the lease of a vehicle in support of the conduct of official duties of the ECMO.

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Seeking Reimbursement

Vouchers

For information related to submitting vouchers for reimbursement, please refer to the Voucher Documentation Standards available on HouseNet.

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Reimbursement and Direct Payment

Disbursements from the ECMO funds are paid on a reimbursement basis or by direct payment (to vendors) and require:
1. The ECMO Chair's signature, certifying that the expense was incurred in support of the ECMO’s official duties.

2. Supporting documentation (receipt, lease, bill etc.).

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Expired Appropriations

The Salaries and Expenses appropriation for the House of Representatives, which includes ECMO funds, is withdrawn two years after the year for which the funds were originally appropriated. This occurs on September 30 of the year.

In the unlikely event an office requests reimbursement for an official and representational expense incurred during a year for which the appropriation has been withdrawn, the Office of Finance will determine if an amount sufficient to pay the expense would have been available if the appropriation had not been withdrawn. If no funds would have been available, then the expense is the personal liability of the Member.
If the expense would have been payable had it been timely submitted, notwithstanding the expired appropriation, then the expense may be paid from a currently available allowance, if available.

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Tax Exempt Letters

To avoid paying unnecessary taxes, please contact the Office of the General Counsel at x59700 for tax exempt letters applicable to each state.

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Work Product and Assets of the ECMO

Work product and data produced, acquired or developed during the normal course of the ECMO activities remain the property of the ECMO.  The ECMO or the ECMO Chair may develop internal rules or regulations for the management, dissemination and transfer of this work product and data.   Opt-in subscriber lists may not be transferred to other House entities, including the personal office of the ECMO Chair.  Upon dissolution, the work product and data of the ECMO transfers to the final Chair.

The ECMO Chair may authorize purchases of office equipment and software from the ECMO account. The CAO will manage the equipment inventory of the ECMO Chair according to the same regulations that apply to a Member Washington, DC office as outlined in the Guide To Outfitting and Maintaining an Office of the U.S. House of Representatives, with the following exceptions:  (1) ECMOs may only acquire equipment on a onetime payment plan.  (2) Committees may not transfer equipment to an ECMO Chair’s inventory.  (3) During a transition, the succeeding ECMO Chair will inherit all the items assigned to the previous Chair's ECMO inventory. (4) Upon dissolution of the ECMO, the equipment assets of the ECMO transfer to the House.

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Modifications

Additional Changes
The Chairman of the Committee is authorized to make technical and conforming modifications to the ECMO Handbook, and to make other modifications with the concurrence of the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee and notification to all members of the Committee. In the event changes are made pursuant to this clause, the Chairman shall notify all ECMO offices by suitable means.