December 15, 2015 •
Washington Legislative Ethics Board Clarifies Free Meals for Legislators
The Legislative Ethics Board in Washington clarified its rule on free meals for legislators, which became effective January 1, 2015. At its December meeting, the board considered whether the rule should have more flexibility in its application in certain circumstances.
The board determined the following based on its discussion: annual, sit-down complimentary dinners to which all legislators are invited during a legislative session are not the type of dinners sought to be limited by the rule; when complimentary lunch is served at a city council meeting that is open to the public, such meal does not count toward the 12 free meals permitted under the rule; annual, sit down lunches hosted by business associations who employ lobbyists do not count against the 12 free meals permitted under the rule because such lunches are permissible under a separate exemption to the state gift ban; and potluck meals held as a result of a social relationship between a legislator and a lobbyist where the purpose of the meal is not to discuss legislative business do not count against the 12 free meals permitted under the rule.
Photo of the Washington State Capitol building 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.