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Still, some exceptions remain.

Federal employees can, of course, ask their own agencies to pay for them to attend these conferences. But it might be too much of a hassle for many, Mr. Chvotkin fears.

“Many certainly would not pay out of their own pockets to go,” he said. “Many would be reluctant to request the agency to pay. There will be many that don’t go through that process. They don’t want to take the time, the work, some don’t want the visibility.”

Federal employees will be allowed to continue attending events hosted by nonprofit charity groups and professional associations that are seeking to educate them. They will also be allowed to attend lobbying events where they are speaking.

Events hosted by media organizations also are exempted.

“The lobbyist gift ban is not intended to erect unnecessary barriers to interaction between appointees and journalists,” the rules read.

And this doesn’t prevent gifts from personal relationships. “Thus, an appointee may accept a birthday present from his or her spouse who is a registered lobbyist,” the rules read.

This offers little comfort, however, to business groups that are hoping to forge meaningful relationships with their government counterparts.

“It’s important content,” Mr. Clarke said. “They need to have that type of dialogue so everyone’s on the same page.”