Our database covers from 1999 to the present. In that time, more than 450 gifts in all were reported having been received by congressmen and their aides by foreign governments. These gifts include tangible ones, such as a ceremonial sword, or travel, such as a ride in a military helicopter. Only gifts above what the law has determined to be "minimal value" is considered reportable. The Senate defines "minimal value" as $100, while the House and executive branch adjust the value by inflation. In 2008, the value for the House and executive branch was $335.
Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin had a story this morning on the subject of foreign gifts: "Even as new ethics restrictions have made it difficult for Members and staff to accept gifts — aside from token baseball caps or T-shirts — one area remains where lawmakers and their staffs can collect trinkets more or less guilt-free: foreign travel."