July 26, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Ethics probe may end free lunches for Washington legislators
System needs to change
I am the citizen who filed that complaint with the Legislative Ethics Board. [“State ethics probe may revamp rules on gifts to legislators,” page one, July 23.]
I submitted the complaint out of frustration when I learned some of our state legislators were being well-fed by lobbyists. Meanwhile, other legislators were voting against bills that would adequately fund feeding programs to assist our most vulnerable citizens.
Sens. Doug Ericksen and Mark Schoesler questioned my motivation behind the complaint, as only Republicans are mentioned. My complaint reads: “I am unsure of whom I want you to focus on … the big picture would be the Washington State Legislature as a whole and possibly the companies and lobbyists that are doing the pampering.”
I don’t see a need to fine or punish these legislators. As my complaint states, “this system has been around for a long time and it needs to change.”
I was encouraged by the supportive statements of both Rep. Jamie Petersen and Sen. Mark Schoesler. Erickson and Schoesler both “defended their meals as opportunities to see constituents they couldn’t see during the workday.”
I say, keep having those meetings with constituents; however, at the end of the meetings and meals, everyone should pick up their own meal tab. After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Richard Hodgin, Seattle
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