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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) requested a decision regarding whether it could use its official reception and representation (R&R) funds to pay for: (1) refreshments served USTR and other federal employees at working meetings before or after normal working hours; and (2) business cards for USTR staff members whose jobs included official representation of USTR. GAO held that: (1) the working meetings did not qualify as official receptions; and (2) business cards qualified as a legitimate representation device. Accordingly, USTR: (1) could not use its R&R funds to pay for refreshments served federal employees at working meetings; and (2) could use its R&R funds to pay for business cards for staff members whose jobs included USTR representation, but should consult with the Joint Committee on Printing to determine whether regulations prohibiting the printing of business cards were applicable.


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