5:00 pm Oct. 31, 2011
A holiday message from Bloomberg L.P. to "valued suppliers":
"As the holiday season approaches, we would like to remind you that Bloomberg has a strict policy that prohibits giving or receiving gifts, including meals, tickets or trips."
So begins the letter Bloomberg C.F.O. Patti Roskill sent out last week to a group that includes freelancers for the magazine Bloomberg Businessweek.
But Roskill reminded vendors that they are only being put on the same footing as all Bloomberg employees: "Our employees are instructed to return any gifts, irrespective of their value, to the sender."
These sorts of rules are enforced at all mainstream news outlets, but reminder letters like this are often prompted by a serious infraction (or an epidemic of smaller ones). One imagines it'd be easy to make a mistake at a company that issues its employees a 350-page encyclopedia of editorial and ethical standards.
But a spokesman affirmed that it's just the scary efficiency of Bloomberg L.P. at work.
"This was simply a regular reminder of a long-running company policy as we head into the holidays," the spokesman told Capital.
The letter was printed on a piece of pretty thick white paper with the Bloomberg letterhead on top; in another part of the letter, Roskill asks vendors (and points out that the company asks its employees) to consider the environmental impact of sending Christmas cards.
Here's the whole thing:
Dear Valued Supplier:
As the holiday season approaches, we would like to remind you that Bloomberg has a strict policy that prohibits giving or receiving gifts, including meals, tickets or trips. Our employees are instructed to return any gifts, irrespective of their value, to the sender.
Our clients rely on Bloomberg for accuracy and objectivity, whether in the form of data, analytics or news. As such, we believe it is imperative that Bloomberg employees refrain from any activity that appears to create a conflict of interest or any form of favoritism. Violation of this policy will preclude the continuation of any future relationship.
We also encourage you (and our employees) to consider the environment and our "Green" initiative before sending holiday cards. Lastly, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in supporting our business. We appreciate doing business with your firm and look forward to our continued relationship.
Disclosure: I've written extensively for Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a freelancer.