DOJ: There IS Such a Thing As a Free Lunch--for Furloughed Feds

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 9, 2013 | 3:50 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

( - “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch”—the title of a book published by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman--may be economic fact, but that did not deter the U.S. Justice Department from informing furloughed department workers that they can have one.

In an “Ethics Q&A” the DOJ published on its website advising furloughed employees on what they can and cannot ethically do during a government shutdown, the department said it was okay for them to accept free sandwiches from commercial enterprises as long as those sandwiches were offered free to all federal workers and not just some.

“May employees accept a discount offered by a bank or other commercial organization?” the “Ethics Q&A” asked rhetorically.

“Generally, yes,” said the response, “IF the discount is offered to ALL federal employees regardless of pay or agency. (For example, a local deli is offering free sandwiches to all federal government employees for the first two days of the shutdown.”

The “Ethics Q&A” also said furloughed department employees could accept discounts to buy pizzas—so long as the discount was available to all would-be pizza purchasers.

“Employees also may accept a discount offered to the public,” said the advisory. “(For example, a local pizza delivery shop offers large pizzas for $7 every Monday).”