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Ethics Panel Imposes Stricter Rules On Ohio Lawmaker Travel

Airport destinations and departures video board
A state ethics panel The panel said lawmakers cannot accept travel expenses unless it is for an event like a panel or seminar.

The ongoing federal investigation into former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger raises questions about travel activities of lawmakers. Rosenberger has close ties with payday lending lobbyists who allegedly paid for some of his travel.

Now a state panel that rules on ethics issues has released its opinion on travel rules to lawmakers.

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee said lawmakers and their employees cannot accept travel expenses from lobbyists unless those result from participation in a panel, seminar or speaking engagement or were incurred at a meeting of a national organization of which any state agency is a dues paying member.

When it comes to sharing rides with lobbyists for personal travel, starting immediately, lawmakers must reimburse the cost of their travel within a week.

The federal subpoena and search warrant issued in the Rosenberger case shows he is not the only lawmaker who has traveled with lobbyists in the past. But at this point, no other lawmakers have been named in connection with the FBI investigation.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.