Campaign contribution limits raised

OLYMPIA — You soon can give more money to candidates and get a better idea of whether a lobbyist bought a lawmaker a full dinner or just a cup of coffee.

Starting in January, the maximum amount one can give to candidates for city, county and legislative offices will be $950 per election, which is $50 greater than the current limit.

Those running for governor or other statewide office can now tap donors for $1,900 per election, which is $100 more, and $3,800 if they are involved in a primary and a general election.

The state Public Disclosure Commission approved the new schedule of contribution limits last week. Under state law, commissioners can revise the limits every two years to account for inflation. The panel boosted them slightly in 2012 as well.

Also last week, commissioners took action to ensure lobbyists are clearer on exactly what they spend when they host lawmakers at dinners and receptions.

They approved revising the form used by lobbyists for disclosing entertainment expenses by adding directions to include the “actual amount spent entertaining each individual.”

This isn’t a new practice but an attempt to clarify an existing policy, commission spokeswoman Lori Anderson said.

Lobbyists today are required by law to report what they spend per lawmaker for such things as food and drink. But specific instructions to do so do not appear on the form and many leave it out.

So when a lobbyist hosts multiple lawmakers at a dinner, it is not clear if they all ate dinner or if possibly some did not.

The issue came to light earlier this year when The Associated Press and a consortium of public radio stations reported on the difficulty of tracking the amount of money lobbyists spend wining and dining lawmakers.

The new contribution limits and changes in the form go into effect Jan. 5.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Vegas, LA, Phoenix, and more destinations from Paine Field

Alaska Airlines will fly to eight West Coast cities out of Everett starting this fall.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Marysville police send abandoned, unclaimed bikes to Zambia

“Out where we are, a bicycle is upward mobility,” said Kelly Huckaby, a missionary in Africa.

Man shot dead after argument at bar south of Everett

Police say an employee of the bar shot and killed the man, who had opened fire in the parking lot.

Most Read