Washington State Lobbyists Pamper Lawmakers With Free Meals - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington State Lobbyists Pamper Lawmakers With Free Meals

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington ethics law prohibits public officials from accepting free meals on more than "infrequent occasions." Some state lawmakers, however, let lobbyists pick up the tab several times in a single week.
    
In the first four months of this year, the state's 50 most active lobbyists pampered legislators with hundreds upon hundreds meals totaling a projected value of more than $65,000 in value. Many of the political officials accepted the meals while at the same time claiming $90 a day in taxpayer-funded per diems that are designed to cover the cost of basic expenses while working in Olympia.
    
The biggest beneficiary of lobbyist expense accounts was Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen. Lobbyists reported some 60 occasions in which Ericksen benefited from free meals, drinks or golf in the first four months of this year. Ericksen says he uses the meetings as a chance to learn about issues and that the meals don't make him feel an obligation to aid the lobbyist's cause.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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