(The Olympian) A legislative ethics panel has thrown out a complaint against state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and others who invited international travel adviser Rick Steves to talk in October at the Capitol about topics that included marijuana.
Steves, who supports decriminalizing marijuana possession, says travel can help people learn about how other cultures address social problems, which can help in the creation of better public policies related to health care, drug laws and other issues.
About $50 of public money was spent on posters publicizing the talk, and Steves gave out copies of a travel book he wrote, the ethics board found.
Not all lawmakers escaped sanctions stemming from complaints brought by activist Rob Kavanaugh of Lacey. The American Civil Liberties Union, which supports decriminalizing marijuana, provided free lunches at the event, and lawmakers who ate the lunches must give back a portion of their “per diem” spending allowance to the state.
It amounts to $18 each for two senators and a Senate staffer and $9.50 each for five representatives.
Rob Kavanaugh is on the case! $83.50 of the public’s money will not be frivolously expended to reimburse lawmakers for a free lunch meeting with a travel writer purchased by the ACLU. We no longer have to fear that the ethics of Washington lawmakers will be compromised by getting a free sandwich from the Bill of Rights advocacy organization.
If I had known that buying them a sandwich was all it takes to shift lawmaker’s views on marijuana legalization, I would have sent them each a six-foot sub years ago.