Statute Clamps Down
on Entertaining Public Officials
Arizona legislature has now outlawed entertainment expenditures for state
officers and employees.
and other elected officials are of ten invited to participate in functions
underwritten or otherwise sponsored by community colleges. Thanks to recent
changes by the Arizona legislature to state lobbying statutes, though,
many such activities may involve the illegal expenditure of funds.
According to A.R.S. Section 41-1232.07, a public or private entity--including
a community college district--may not, directly or through a lobbyist,
"make an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment for
a state officer or state employee." Likewise, such state officer
or employee is prohibited under the statute from accepting any expenditure
Legislators are not the only officials precluded from accepting entertainment
under the statute. Members of boards or commissions, as well as employees
of state offices, agencies, boards, commissions or councils, are also
Under the statute, "entertainment" is "any expenditure
paid or incurred for admission to any sporting or cultural event or for
participation in any sporting or cultural activity."
Before the enactment of the statute--which took effect on January 1 of
this year--entertainment expenditures for the benefit of state officers
and employees were not subject to an outright prohibition. Rather, the
law required merely that such expenditures be reported in records available
for public inspection.
The new law also changes the definition of what constitutes "entertainment"
by including an express reference to "sporting or cultural"
events or activities
Permitted under the statute are expenditures for entertainment "in
connection with a special event," as long as such expenditures are
reported to the public. Also allowed is entertainment that is "incidental"
to a speaking engagement, at which the state officer or employee is asked
to speak before an "event, committee, meeting, conference or seminar
. . . ."
The law continues to authorize other expenditures for state officials
on such items as food or beverages--provided, however, that the expenditures
Expenditures for food and beverages, however, entail some added conditions.
They are permitted only if the food and beverages are provided for the
state official at a location at which the lobbying entity--or the entity's
In light of these new restrictions, it would be illegal for a community
college district to:
authorize payment of the cost to state officials of tickets to plays,
concerts or other cultural activities, as well as for professional or
collegiate sporting events;
waive the cost to state officials of admission to college-sponsored
cultural or sporting events;
allow the district's lobbyist to pay the cost of a state official's
admission to a cultural activity or sporting event, even at the lobbyist's
the other hand, the law would not prohibit a community college district
providing a meal for a state official--including a meal at a college-sponsored
activity--as long as the food and beverages are provided at a location
where an official of the college or its lobbyist is present and the
expenditure is properly reported;
inviting a state official to a college-sponsored cultural activity or
sporting event which is open to the public free of charge;
providing entertainment that is incidental to a college-sponsored speaking
engagement at which the state official has been invited to present information.
in the Spring 2001 Edition of In Brief