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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 20, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Ethics board clears state Sen. Pam Roach in free trip abroad

ROACH RACE - BONNEY LAKE - 7/23/2014

State Sen. Pam Roach (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A recent opinion by a legislative ethics board clears Republican state Sen. Pam Roach of ethics violations for all-expenses-paid trips in 2013 to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The board’s ruling, released Sunday, appears to give lawmakers more leeway to accept free trips, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported Monday.

State law allows officials to accept expenses related to an appearance “made in an official capacity.” Roach’s trip was paid for by a group with ties to a Turkish cleric.

Previously, board staff had given lawmakers informal advice that took a strict interpretation of what constitutes official business.

With the Roach opinion, the board took a looser approach, saying there was a “reasonable nexus” to Roach’s legislative duties because, among other things, she was invited along with lawmakers from other states and there were discussions about the Turkish political system, U.S. and Turkish economic ties and energy policy.

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