Type Complaint Opinion 
Date 7/11/2014 
Number 14-02 
Topic Private Benefit or Gain 
Respondent Paul Harris 
Complaint alleged that a legislator used public resources, including his Legislative Assistant, for his private benefit or gain or the private benefit or gain of the legislator's employer.
A majority of the Board determined there was no reasonable cause to believe that the statute, RCW 42.52.160, had been violated because of a lack of facts to show a personal gain for the legislator.  The service provided to the employer was viewed by the majority as permissible constituent assistance but, the majority opinion warns legislators that assistance to their employers in the nature of constituent work is more limited than assistance to other constituents.  A concurring opinion reasoned that the majority analysis was too narrow and the Board should have discussed the possibility of personal benefits which are not monetary in nature.  A dissenting opinion argued that the focus should be on whether the benefit of the use of state resources was primarily public or private, and in this case the benefit to the employer was private and  there was reasonable cause to believe the Respondent violated the statute.
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