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AGO 1957 No. 26 - March 05, 1957
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

IRRIGATION DISTRICTS ‑- COMPENSATION OF DIRECTOR FOR LOBBYING

An irrigation district may not compensate a director for expenses undertaken in connection with lobbying for federal legislation.

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                                                                   March 5, 1957

Honorable Roy Mundy
State Representative
House Chambers
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 26


Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you have inquired as to whether a director of an irrigation district can be paid a salary and mileage expenses out of irrigation district funds for the purpose of lobbying for federal legislation.

            The answer to your question is in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            You have noted in your letter that in the Quincy Irrigation District, a certain warrant was issued in July to one of the directors which constituted expenses of two trips to Washington D.C., with the notation of "salary and mileage" as shown on the warrant registry book in the Grant county auditor's office.

            Without all the evidence before it, this office obviously cannot pass upon the question of whether or not a particular expenditure was or was not authorized.  What constitutes "lobbying" may be a question of fact.  Cf.State ex rel. Hunt v. Okanogan County, 153 Wash. 399.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]   However, as a general proposition, it is undoubtedly the law of this state that an expenditure of public funds for the purpose of lobbying may not be made.  Hartson v. Dale, 9 Wash. 379;Port of Seattle v. Lamping, 135 Wash. 569.  State ex rel. Rice v. Bell, 124 Wash. 647, is, for purposes of your question, particularly in point.

            We trust the foregoing will prove helpful.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General


JOHN S. ROBINSON
Assistant Attorney General

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