Obama and the Missing Nobel Prize Money

SusanAnne Hiller

The other day I pointed out the fact that President Obama has yet to donate the money he was awarded as the Nobel recipient. Obama stated he would donate the $1.4 million prize to charity. It’s been several weeks since he received the money and no one knows what’s happened to it.


The US Code is very clear in Receipt and Disposition of Foreign Gifts and Decorations. The code states:

1) The Congress consents to—
(A) the accepting and retaining by an employee of a gift of minimal value tendered and received as a souvenir or mark of courtesy; and
(B) the accepting by an employee of a gift of more than minimal value when such gift is in the nature of an educational scholarship or medical treatment or when it appears that to refuse the gift would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States, except that—
(i) a tangible gift of more than minimal value is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States and, upon acceptance, shall become the property of the United States; and

(ii) an employee may accept gifts of travel or expenses for travel taking place entirely outside the United States (such as transportation, food, and lodging) of more than minimal value if such acceptance is appropriate, consistent with the interests of the United States, and permitted by the employing agency and any regulations which may be prescribed by the employing agency.
(2) Within 60 days after accepting a tangible gift of more than minimal value (other than a gift described in paragraph (1)(B)(ii)), an employee shall—
(A) deposit the gift for disposal with his or her employing agency; or
(B) subject to the approval of the employing agency, deposit the gift with that agency for official use.

While I have seen many dissections of how this code should be interpreted, as well as its history, there has been silence on it from the White House. And, there have been no further inquiries as to what Obama will do or has done with the prize money. I think it is fair to follow up–even if the 60 days have not passed–because the money, according to US law, should have been immediately turned over.

I guess we’ll just have to wait for Obama’s tax returns in April to see where the money went.

Comments are closed.