The Viewpoint (TNT, 2-4) by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and state Sen. Reuven Carlyle correctly advocates for legislation requiring a “cooling-off” period between the time a state officer or employee leaves state service and takes a job with an employer with which that employee was engaged in negotiating or administering contracts.
However, both House Bill 1136 and Senate Bill 6258 retain the current exemption for former state employees who go to work for “employee organizations,” which are defined in RCW as public sector unions.
This means that a state employee who participated in the negotiation of contracts with a public sector union could then go to work for that union and would not be prohibited from “rendering assistance to state officials” - a vague term which could mean anything, including trading insider information and otherwise influencing outcomes - the very things these bills are seeking to prevent. And past seamless movement between state and union employment shows that this exemption is well utilized.
To allow one special interest group to be exempt from a law that would govern all others is a glaring illustration of “special favor, unfair access and conflicts of interest.” Carlyle should strike this exemption in order to achieve true impartiality and transparency.