A bit of background first: The store is normally open only to employees of Nike, but the company and its workers give away thousands of guest passes each year. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission--responding to an inquiry from a Nike lobbyist--ruled today that public officials, including lawmakers, can accept passes to shop at the store without violating state ethics laws. The passes, it seems, are not exactly a rare commodity. Nike says some 80% of the customers at the Nike employee store aren't actually employees. They get guest passes through friends or family who work there, or through vendors who do business with Nike, or at charity events. Indeed, reviews of the store indicate it's so accessible, there's often a line out the door just to get in. So the Ethics Commission figured that a visit to the Nike employee store wouldn't be a case of granting special privileges to a government official.
But there's at least one government official who's already shopped at the Nike store. State representative Tobias Read, who