January 2, 2014 •
WA Legislative Ethics Board Dismisses Complaint, Looks to Legislature for Guidance on Free Meals to Lawmakers
The Legislative Ethics Board in Washington dismissed a complaint related to Washington state lawmakers accepting free meals from lobbyists. Washington law prohibits public officials from accepting free meals on more than “infrequent occasions.” However, there is no enforceable standard for “infrequent occasions.”
The complaint was prompted by a reported $65,000 being spent on free meals by the state’s most active lobbyists in the first four months of 2013.
The Ethics Board is turning to the Legislature for an enforceable standard for the ethics law. If the Legislature fails to do so in the upcoming session beginning in January, the board plans to establish its own rules.
The board also noted in its decision the lack of an enforceable standard affects the consistency of lobbyist reports in terms of what is being reported.
Photo of the Washington State Capitol by Nikopoley on Wikimedia Commons.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.