Keith A. Vance, the director of the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, said yesterday that he will ask the Board of Elections and Ethics to reconsider the legal basis of its determination last week that elected officials may accept paid fact-finding trips from lobbyists.

Vance said that he does not plan to ask the board to formally reopen the case of D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), but that he wants the three-member panel to reexamine whether its conclusion conflicts with D.C. law.

In a unanimous ruling last week, the elections board rescinded fines Vance had assessed against Jarvis when she accepted two New York trips paid by Citicorp and failed to list the expenditures as gifts on campaign finance disclosure documents. Such trips, the board ruled, are considered to be fact-finding trips that are permissible under federal lobbying statutes, which also apply to District officials.

"There was no decision made on the factual issue of how fact finding is defined," Vance said. The board, he said, did not consider all documents filed in the case when it reached its decision, and failed to address a section of the personnel statute that prohibits such payments to District employes.

But elections board Chairman Edward W. Norton said yesterday that Vance's argument, which was not mentioned by his attorneys at last week's public hearing, is "contorted and distorted" and not likely to alter the board's thinking in the Jarvis case.

"That's not the way the law works," Norton said. "He {Vance} darts back and forth between {statutes} trying to find things that bolster his argument."

Norton said that Vance's office is bound by the federal lobbying statute on which the board based last week's decision.

Any definition of what constitutes a fact-finding trip must await further board action, he said.

Jarvis said yesterday through a spokeswoman that Vance's new action is a "senseless gesture," and that it is the council's responsibility to make any changes to the city's ethics law that are needed to conform to the board's decision.

"This is not to pursue the Jarvis matter, per se," Vance responded. "As far as I'm concerned, that matter is closed. It's dead."