SALEM — Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, said Friday he negotiated a $300 settlement with the state's government ethics panel for initially failing to file reports on six conferences he attended.
Richardson had been under the impression he was not required to expense payments he received to attend the sessions because they were not sponsored by individuals or organizations that lobby the Oregon Legislature.
He described four of the sessions as educational seminars sponsored by private educational groups.
Another was a leadership summit in Portland with the Portland Business Alliance picking up his mileage and motel bill, $266.64.
Richardson had listed two of the events on his campaign expenditure reports filed with the secretary of state. After the media uproar over lawmakers who travelled to Hawaii for a convention of the Oregon Beer and Wine Distributors but did not file economic interest reports, Richardson said he decided to err on the side of caution.
He voluntarily submitted amended reports to the Government Standards and Practices Commission, the first notice they received of the alleged violations. A subsequent investigation concluded the issue should be pursued. Richardson could have sought a contested hearing before a state hearings officer, but he opted to negotiate a settlement with the commission.
The commission originally proposed a $600 fine. "But I suggested that was too high," said Richardson. Both agreed on a $300 assessment.
"They're happy, and I'm satisfied with it," he said. "Now we can all move on."
Don Jepsen is a freelance writer living in Salem. Reach him at email@example.com.