OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has proposed a bill that would create a one-year waiting period for any former high-ranking state official before they could become a lobbyist.
As it now stands, a state official or employee can leave a state job on a Friday and begin as a lobbyist on a Monday, paid to influence their former colleagues, the attorney general's office states. Ferguson’s proposal would put Washington more in line with Congress and 31 other states, which require a similar waiting period.
“The revolving door from public to private sector employment undermines public trust by giving the appearance of special access, unfair advantage, and conflicts of interest,” Ferguson said. “This overdue reform will promote government integrity and deter improper influence.”
Washington law does contain some requirements on post-state service employment. Employees who worked on granting a state contact cannot then take a job paid by that contract. Employees are also prohibited from taking jobs that would be seen as a reward from a private entity trying to influence state government.
Ferguson would like to add to these laws, helping Washington upgrade its D+ grade for government accountability that was given by the Public Center for Integrity in 2015.