Sen. Doug Ericksen has received some state-wide recognition recently for receiving free meals from lobbyists. The Associated Press along with a consortium of public radio stations did an analysis of lobbyist filings and found that Sen. Doug Ericksen has received more free meals than any other state legislator this session.
From the Associated Press article, Ericksen responded to this report, “A $49 dinner is not going to sway me from doing what’s right for my constituents,” Ericksen said. Yet he met with Greg Hanon, a lobbyist for the Western States Petroleum Association, fourteen times in the last four months, with the Petroleum Association picking up the tab every time.
Totalling up all the free meals he has received in the last four months, Ericksen’s haul comes to $2,029.30. His closest competitor, Sen. Litzow (R-Mercer Island), didn’t even come close with a mere $1,477.00. Ericksen received free meals, drinks and golf, clocking in an average of three meals a meal week from lobbyists intent on gaining his ear. This is deeply disappointing on its face, however it gets worse.
Ericksen is double dipping. He is receiving a per diem (money for food and expenses) from the taxpayers while the legislature is in session. We the taxpayers are giving him $90 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner while lobbyists are buying steak dinners. When confronted about this, Ericksen said that he sees no problem with this arrangement.
You can call Ericksen’s office at (360) 786-7682 and let him know how you feel about his lobbyist dining and double dipping.
P.S. I had a great time deciding on the title of this article. Other choices included, “Ericksen: Eating us out of House and Senate,” “Ericksen: Lobbyist favorite lunchable,” “Ericksen leads pack in Double Dipping Dinners.” Feel free to add your ideas in the comments below.