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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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October 15, 2007 1:17 PM

Rent due gets lobbyists booted from Capitol

Posted by David Postman

Amount earned by Olympia lobbyists since January 2005: $117.3 million
Amount spent donating to lawmakers and wining and dining them: $17.7 million.
Amount lobbyists owe the state in back rent for shared Capitol office $24,494.
Number of hours (approximate) it would take for the lobbying corps to earn that much: 5

The Olympian has been covering this story. The paper reported Saturday that the state sent a letter to the lobbyists demanding at least a meeting by Wednesday to discuss the back rent. The debt started piling up because the state forgot to bill the lobbyists. Since that was discovered, officials have had no success in trying to collect payment.

"Of course, it is in the best interest of both parties to resolve this debt expeditiously and without involving a collection agency or taking legal action," concludes the letter from Patrick Buker, assistant director for the landlord, the Department of General Administration.

The Olympian reports lobbyist Steve Gano said "members of the lobbying corps have been looking for pledges of $500 and $1,000 to help pay the bill." He is unhappy that the state failed to send a bill for so long.

For the record: The press corps works in offices owned by the state as well. There was a time about 10 years ago when it was discovered that the state had failed to bill our papers and back rent was due. As far as I know, those payments were made and our rent has been paid on time since.

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