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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Legislative Ethics Board

Sunday Spin: How to make freebie meals very infrequent

OLYMPIA – A special panel is struggling to tell legislators how often they can break bread – and drink various beverages – with lobbyists.

State law already carries the stricture that such activities should be “infrequent.” The task for Legislative Ethics Board – a group of legislators and citizens who set rules for the conduct of senators and representatives – is deciding when does one move beyond infrequent to frequent.

Is it one dinner a month? Lunch every third Thursday? One dinner, one lunch and two coffee dates a week?

This argument may seem to fall somewhere between medieval scholars debating how many angels fit on the point of a pin and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography as “I know it when I see it” . . . 

To read the rest  of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Marr ethics complaint dismissed

OLYMPIA — A complaint that an aide for Sen. Chris Marr improperly used a state computer for campaign purposes was dismissed Wednesday by the Legislative Ethics Board. The computer didn’t belong to the state, and it was used by Marr, not his aide, the board concluded.

The complaint was filed by Steven Neill, a supporter of now Senator-elect Mike Baumgartner in October. Neill contended that a campaign e-mail was sent out by Marr legislative aide Barb Bumann on state time and a state computer, and that Marr would thus be guilty of violating the state’s campaign law through “knowing acquiescence” of that action.

The ethics staff investigation concluded, however, that Bumann didn’t have a state laptop during the 2010 campaign season — or any other time. As Marr’s unpaid campaign treasurer, she did loan the campaign her personal laptop to file reports with the Public Disclosure Commission, and to send out campaign updates. She also gave Marr and some other campaign members the password so they could have access to the laptop; although the e-mails had Bumann’s name in the header, both she and Marr said he sent out the campaign e-mails.

“No evidence to the contrary was discovered,” the staff said. And the e-mails seem to be written by Marr, because they refer to “I, me and my opponent” and have his cell phone number on it, the staff said.

The complaint was dismissed for “lack of reasonable cause.”


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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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