- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A recent opinion by a legislative ethics board clears Republican 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 (https://bit.ly/1t5CG4J ).

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. The board took a looser approach, saying that 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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Information from: The News Tribune, https://www.thenewstribune.com

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