Sparkfun, the electronic component and kit company that is completely open-source, has extended an offer to send free kits to any furloughed government worker who can provide proof of his or her situation.
The company stated that they will run this offer for two weeks (beginning October 11), or until the government shutdown ends, whichever happens first. The offer includes a choice between three available kits. A furloughed employee only needs to send an image of his or her furlough letter, along with the person's home address and selection, to email@example.com in order to receive the gift. The kits available for selection are as follows:
One commenter on the site points out that there may be a conflict of interest, since this is a gift to a federal employee. According to the Department of Interior's ethics web page:
"As a general rule… a Department of the Interior employee may not, directly or indirectly, solicit or accept a gift[.]"
However, there could be many ways of interpreting this exchange, such as the acceptable "discounts and similar benefits" clause (section C on the Web page). Then again, when the government's shut down, who enforces these laws?