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June 28, 2013 at 6:20 AM

King County Council puts out the tip jar

Call it crass-roots politics. The Metropolitan King County Council created a new members-only club that needs a name. How about The Order of the Extended Palm? Think a council member is doing a terrific job, want to say “thank you,” or soothe hard feelings? Plunk down a nice cash gratuity.

Have some business with the county, want some business with the county? Might be an opportunity to make sure a council member has some extra money in that pesky office fund.

The money can go so quickly. Council members struggle to make ends meet on $135,000-plus a year. Leftover campaign funds only go so far. I mean, what council members have to put up with.

So the council came up with the obvious answer. Feed the kitty. Donors can give up to $1,000 over the course of a council member’s term. Well, that is the number for now.

Reports will be filed quarterly. Just enough time for the public’s short attention span to forget that key vote or the election campaign. Easy money. Remind me, are the expenditures documented along with the donors?

Best thing about this council-endorsed gravy train is that the money can be spent on virtually anything because virtually anything can be justified as an office expense. New clothes, laundry bills, carnauba wax for the car, the car, liquor and meals. It can all loop back to meeting and greeting the constituents, learning more essential background for the job, and getting out and mixing it up with potential job creators. Whatever. Maybe even spa treatments for all that on-the-job stress.

The beauty of The Order of the Extended Palm is the sheer audacity of the move. Personal-office funds to spend on work-related expenses.

I suspect it spells nothing but trouble, but as pure spectator sport for the entertaining tales it will produce, one has to say thanks.

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