Pro Football Talk reports that the Arizona Cardinals offered free tickets to elected officials to “build a better relationship” with state legislators. Other Arizona teams have called the practice “a bad idea,” and have steered clear of offering tickets to lawmakers. While it is definitely a bad idea, it’s a bit less clear whether or not the Cardinals are in violation of state lobbying laws.
If the matter were involving federal officials, the practice would absolutely be in opposition to the HLOGA gift ban. But in Arizona, the law states that “A principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person’s behalf shall not make an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment for a state officer or Generic Cialis state employee. A state officer or state employee shall not accept an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment from a principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person’s behalf.”
Technically, the team is not making “an expenditure” for the tickets, since the team has control over the tickets. But there is, in theory, lost revenue that could be ascribed to expenditures. The Cardinals have not gotten in any trouble over the gifts thus far, so perhaps the relationship-building efforts have been successful. But for the rest of us, we should adopt the beliefs of the region’s other teams: giving event tickets to elected officials is probably a bad idea (and against the rules, according to HLOGA.)