Red Cups and Red Tape, The Ethics of Tailgates


Four red plastic cups being in a cheers formation

As summer turns to fall, like most Ohioans, you start looking ahead to football season. Whether you’re a diehard OSU fan or cheer on the Bengals or Browns, no doubt you’ll be getting in some tailgating this season.

It’s not uncommon to have people coming and going through your tailgate, but what if one is an elected official. The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee (JLEC) warns that “won’t kick you out” is not the same as “invited,” so you can’t convert your event into an “all-invited” event after the fact. Depending on the value of food and drink at your tailgate, you may have to report providing food and beverage to that state legislator.

JLEC’s reporting rules are different for all-invited events, with meals and beverages not included towards the aggregate threshold for itemized reporting. However, you still must report the value of food and beverage provided at the all-invited event.

It’s always a good idea to regularly consult the Ohio Lobbyist Handbook and of course we are ready to help you with all of your compliance needs.

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