It is naive to think, as your editorial suggests, that the Legislative Ethics Board will step up to put curbs on legislator’s meals with lobbyists. Anyone who has ever watched this body closely knows that legislators dominate the board.
The nonlegislators on the board got there by not biting the hand that feeds (i.e. appoints) them.
I tried to put curbs on gratuities at the Port of Olympia beginning with the premise of “not even a cup of coffee.” But, there are times and situations where it is socially awkward or even insulting to insist on paying one’s own way. This exception is built into the port’s policy and to my knowledge has worked fine.
The Legislative Ethics Board would likely find this too vague to enforce but would be much better than the status quo.
The public knows that the purpose of the wining and dining is to enhance access — and therefore influence. Only self-deluded legislators protest that they cannot be bought with food and booze. Are there any legislators who will step up and fix this problem?