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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Links on Marr’s website not ethics violation

Complaint said it used state materials improperly

Sen. Chris Marr did not violate ethics rules by placing links to legislative sites on campaign-related Internet pages, a state board concluded.

The Legislative Ethics Board dismissed this week a complaint against Marr by Spokane resident Don Jacobson, who raised questions about the 6th District Democrat’s campaign website and Facebook pages that contained embedded features and links to materials produced by the state.

There’s no prohibition against such links and they don’t violate the state laws that bar the use of public resources to support a political campaign, Board Chairman David Draper said. The ethics board previously ruled that a candidate can link to legislative sites or legislative materials.

Marr said he thought the complaint was “politically motivated” – Jacobson is a regular supporter of Republican candidates, including Marr’s opponent Mike Baumgartner – but it did raise an interesting question the Legislature needs to address about the use of social media and the difference between linking to another site and embedding a state-produced photo or video on a candidate’s site.

“The Legislature moves at glacial speed. The Internet moves at a much greater speed,” he said.

Although all material was publicly available, the campaign removed the links and embedded materials after the complaint was filed “in an abundance of caution,” Marr said. They might be put back if there’s time during the remaining weeks of the campaign.