Elected officials in Oregon are not violating ethics rules if they shop for discounted shoes and apparel at a store meant for Nike employees. That’s the ruling Friday from Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
Nike runs a store just for employees at its Beaverton headquarters. The shop features popular Nike products at wholesale prices. Last month a lobbyist for Nike wrote the Ethics Commission to ask whether government officials would run afoul of state ethics laws if they accepted passes to visit the store.
The Ethics Commission’s response to Nike? Just do it. The panel said such passes do not qualify as gifts under state ethics laws. The reason? As it turns out, the vast majority of the people who shop at the Nike employee store are not actually Nike employees.
They're friends and family of people who work there. They're Nike retirees or vendors. The company itself gives away thousands of passes each year to charity events. The Ethics Commission ruled that because passes are distributed so widely, a public official would not be getting a special privilege by shopping there.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network