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Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 12:28pm

House Closes Ethics Loophole

An 11th-hour proposal to close an ethics loophole exempting lobbyists from disclosing what they spend on gifts to staff members of elected officials has passed a House committee with the backing of Speaker David Ralston.

In a reversal, the plan was amended to the same bill supporters failed to attach it to only a day earlier.

The proposal stems from a ruling last week from the state Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, which voted to advise lobbyists that they no longer have to disclose meals, gifts and other expenditures if the recipients are staff members rather than elected officials.

The measure now heads to the House Rules Committee, which will decide whether it sees the floor before the Legislature's final day on Thursday.