Want a PowerPoint with that golf? At U.S. Open, state lawmakers don’t have a choice

For state lawmakers visiting the U.S. Open this weekend, their trip to Chambers Bay will include time watching a PowerPoint presentation instead of golf.

Ten lawmakers said they’ve accepted complimentary one-day passes to the international golf championship. But for lawmakers to do that without violating state ethics rules, the state’s Legislative Ethics Board said their visit must connect in some way to their official legislative duties.

An informational presentation by Pierce County officials would meet that requirement, the ethics board said in April.

So that’s why Friday, the first two lawmakers to attend the Open using complimentary tickets were photographed sitting with Pierce County officials, talking about the tournament’s economic impact and how the county turned a former gravel mine into a premier golf course.

Rep. Jake Fey and Sen. Steve Conway, both Democrats from Tacoma, visited the golf course Friday using the free tickets provided by the county.

Eight other lawmakers planned to attend Saturday and Sunday. They are: Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle; Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis; Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Olympia; Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia; Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma; Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima; Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup; and Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn.

Most of the lawmakers using the free U.S. Open passes provided by Pierce County said they are making a charitable donation equal to the value of their tickets.

County spokesman Hunter George said he and other Pierce County officials spent slightly more than two hours with lawmakers Friday, which involved taking them through a 77-page slideshow and taking them on a tour of the Open’s security headquarters and media center.

While members of the media have been barred from the briefings, county officials on Friday shared a copy of the presentation they are making to lawmakers.

Among the points covered in the the county’s 77-page slideshow:

• The reclamation and history of Chambers Bay.

• Conservation projects on the golf course.

• The security plan for the U.S. Open.

• How the event has boosted the local and state economy.

The presentation also includes a touch of hope that the U.S. Open would return.

“Until next time ... U.S. Open 20??” reads the final slide.

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