The Atlanta Journal-Constitution February 4, 2011 Friday First Replate Edition January tab to gain access: $250,000; Reports filed with State Ethics Commission.; Georgia House, Senate leaders top recipients of gifts, dinners, tickets. Forty-two Falcons tickets. Two seats at a Jeff Foxworthy concert. Four hundred and thirty-five dinners and one mobile phone charger. Those items are among the more than $250,000 lobbyists spent on members of the General Assembly and other elected officials in January, according to reports filed with the State Ethics Commission. Under new ethics laws adopted last year, lobbyists must now disclose every two weeks during the legislative session how they are spending money to influence public policy. The reports from the first two filings in January show business interests --- from check cashing to Coca-Cola --- accounted for 10 percent of all spending, but that nearly a third came from government entities or local organizations such as the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association and chambers of commerce. An analysis of those records by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also shows that the lawmakers receiving the most gifts, dinners and tickets are the leaders in the House and Senate most responsible for shaping legislation. At the top of that list is House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, who received $2,747 in gifts in January, and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, who accepted $2,230 in dinners, tickets and other items. Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald was third, having received more than $1,500 in lodging and food. Lobbyists in January entertained lawmakers at restaurants such as BLT Steak in Atlanta, where a 14-ounce ribeye costs $36, and French American Brasserie, where the coq au vin costs $23. But they also bought legislators $4 sandwiches from cafeterias around the Capitol, paid for copies of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution or delivered snacks to lawmakers' office staff. For legislators, lobbyist largess comes with the territory. Some events, such as the popular Savannah Chatham Seafood Feast, paid for by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, are open to all lawmakers and staff. The tab for that event alone was more than $84,000. But much of lobbyist spending comes in private dinners that offer opportunities to get key lawmakers alone. Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, one of the most powerful lawmakers at the Capitol, said he turns down more offers than he accepts. "I turn a lot of folks down," said Williams, who accepted more than $900 in gifts in January. "But, I need to know about the issues. If it's something I need to learn more about, I'm more likely to consider that." For new lawmakers, the atmosphere at the Capitol can be daunting and confusing. Rep. Tom Taylor, a freshman Republican from Dunwoody, has made it clear his interest is in getting up to speed, not getting freebies. There have been no hunting trips offered or taken. Taylor did drive himself down to Forsyth --- "on my own nickel" --- to go on a tour of tree farms organized by the Georgia Forestry Association. The tour included a stop at a farm owned by former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, a fried chicken lunch and a classroom session with a PowerPoint presentation on the industry. "I understand how it works," Taylor said, "but it's more education than recreation for me." Taylor said he waves off the toys and tchotchkes that land on his desk. The former defense contractor did stop in on Aerospace Day to talk shop and grab a free bagel, and he also attends the mass feedings organized by various chambers of commerce and other groups. "It's not like we're going out to Chops or Bones every night, at least not me," he said of the buffet meals. "It's just a way to meet offline with business people and hear what their interests are." Lobbyists watch who is in power, who has gained power or who has lost it. Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, recently switched parties and also was named one of Gov. Nathan Deal's floor leaders in the House. In January, lobbyists spent more than $430 on her. While Carter said it does not seem like she is suddenly more popular with lobbyists since she joined the majority party and gained a leadership role, the data suggest otherwise. In January 2010, when she was still a Democrat, lobbyists spent only $145 on Carter. But, sometimes, lobbyists are simply maintaining relationships, no matter the rise and fall of a particular lawmaker. Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, was until last month chairman of the powerful budget-writing Appropriations Committee. Harbin, however, said his interaction with lobbyists has not changed now that he is no longer in a leadership role. "Most of them are friends anyway," Harbin said of the lobbyists he interacts with. In January of this year, Harbin accepted more than $730 in gifts from lobbyists --- all but $76 after he lost his chairmanship. In January 2010, lobbyists spent $520 on Harbin. Ethics watchdogs say that lobbyist spending has its place in a democracy, but that there should be limits. Common Cause Georgia, one of several groups that have banded together to call for a cap on lobbyist spending, said it is not concerned with most of the dinners, lunches and meetings. "We're not trying to eliminate business lunches or business dinners because we recognize legislators' days are pretty full," said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. "A dinner paid for someone isn't our concern. It is the bigger luxury item." Common Cause, the Tea Party Patriots, Georgia Watch and ethics advocate Ray Boyd --- who have formed the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform --- want a $100 limit on any individual expenditure by a lobbyist. Current law has no cap, but lobbyists must disclose how they spend their money. If the $100 cap were in place, about 60 expenditures --- out of more than 1,000 in January --- would have exceeded the limit. "Those items over $100 are more the peddling of influence than an attempt to conduct business," Perry said. Staff writers April Hunt, Chris Joyner and James Salzer contributed to this article. What they bought In the month of January, lobbyists made the following purchases for legislators, legislative staff and other state officials: 42 Falcons tickets 27 Thrashers tickets 4 Hawks tickets 435 Dinners worth $43,195.94 172 Lunches worth $19,950 1 $30 mobile phone charger Source: Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Note: All figures rounded to the nearest dollar. Who got the most in January Top 10 recipients of lobbyist spending last month. House Speaker David Ralston, R- Blue Ridge $2,747 Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock $2,230 Bubba McDonald, Public Service Commission $1,511 Rep. Mickey Channell, R-Greensboro $1,358 House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, R-Bonaire $1,294 Rep. Butch Parrish, R-Swainsboro $1,155 Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville $1,007 Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta $953 Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons $904 Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome $820 Top spenders Lobbyists for the following companies and groups spent the most during January: Company or group Amount Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB $84,576.73 Commonwealth Research Associates LLC $17,683.59 United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta $12,992.18 Friends of Agriculture Foundation Inc. $11,564.00 Coca-Cola Co. $10,288.31 Easter Seals North Georgia $5,793.36 SCANA $5,216.99 Mathews & Maxwell Inc. $5,081.62 AGL Resources $4,567.05 GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group $3,718.76 Investment Dealers' Digest February 4, 2011 The Price of 'Pay to Play'; New rules governing the use of placement agents by California pension plans could subject sponsors to public disclosure obligations Fueled by a surge in populist sentiment and a desire to address perceived improper behavior by public pension plan board members and investment staff, California and its two primary public pension and retirement systems, CalPERS and CalSTRS, recently enacted a broad regime to regulate the use of placement agents by private fund sponsors looking to raise money from California plans. The new regime (Assembly Bill 1743, Section 559 of Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations and Section 600H of the Teachers' Retirement Board Policy Manual) took effect in January. It appears to reflect the view that California's long-standing and stringent political gift and campaign contribution rules were not enough to stem the influence third parties may have had on California plans' investment decision-making processes. The "pay to play" placement agent scandals that rocked New York state in 2009 largely precipitated the rules. Similar scandals materialized in California, as evidenced by the state attorney general's civil lawsuit against Alfred Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member, and his firm, Arvco. The suit, filed in May, charged that Villalobos cultivated improper relationships with a CalPERS board member, attempted to bribe a CalPERS senior investment officer and failed to appropriately register as a broker-dealer. Unfortunately, the California Legislature's bid to increase the public's confidence that investment decisions made by California plans are bias-free has resulted in rules prohibiting private-equity firms from paying contingency fees to placement agents, and potentially causing fund sponsors to become subject to significant ongoing public disclosure obligations regarding their uses of placement agents. The rules also apply to private fund managers and certain of their employees who act on behalf of such managers to secure an investment from a California plan, regardless of whether such employees are compensated in connection with the plan's investment. Investor relations, marketing and sales employees of investment firms may be placement agents under the rules if they are involved with securing commitments from California plans. One notable exception is available to employees who devote more than a third of their time each year to managing the securities or assets owned or controlled by a fund manager. However, there is no clarity on what constitutes "managing securities or assets." In addition to prohibiting private fund managers from paying contingency based fees, Assembly Bill 1743 subjects placement agents to the same restrictions, prohibitions and registration, reporting and record-keeping requirements as lobbyists under California's Political Reform Act of 1974. To solicit investments from California plans, placement agents must register as lobbyists with the California secretary of state and comply with all state lobbying registration and reporting rules, including those prohibiting certain gifts and campaign contributions to California candidates, officers and officials. Once registered, lobbyists must attend an ethics class in California, and lobbyists and their employers must comply with quarterly disclosure and reporting requirements, which include disclosure by private fund managers of lobbyist-related compensation paid to their employees. The rules have teeth. As with other state statutes, penalties for breaching California's Political Reform Act include administrative, civil and criminal. For example, the California Fair Political Practices Commission may impose penalties up to $5,000 per violation. Likewise, penalties for failing to comply with CalPERS' regulations include: * A return of the greater of (i) CalPERS' share of management fees paid to the private-equity firm during the preceding two years and (ii) amounts paid or promised to placement agents in connection with the plan's investment. * Cessation of obligations to contribute capital to the fund. Termination of the investment contract and withdrawal without penalty. * A five-year ban on future investments by CalPERS with the fund sponsor. To adequately address CalPERS' concerns, private-equity funds' partnership agreements should be drafted carefully at the outset to provide for certain of these required remedies, including (i) a withdrawal right for CalPERS, but not for other investors who are not similarly situated, and (ii) modification of the management fee offset and capital contribution provisions to account for the prohibition on the use of CalPERS' capital contributions to pay any fees or expenses associated with the use of placement agents. The expansive definition of placement agent, along with California's commitment to overhaul private-equity firms' use of placement agents in connection with California plans' investments, will materially affect how fund sponsors can conduct fundraising operations in California. Furthermore, the movement appears to be gathering steam as local California public retirement systems reportedly weigh similar requirements. Only time will tell whether other states will adopt legislation similar in scope to the rules or instead adhere to a model similar to the SEC's pay-to-play Rule 206(4)-5 to shield their public pension plans' investment decisions from actual or perceived improper influence. Although there are indications that California legislators plan to introduce a bill to clarify certain aspects of Assembly Bill 1743 in the near future, California clearly will require heightened regulation and disclosure. Jordan C. Murray is a partner and Oladipo Ashiru an associate in the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution February 3, 2011 Thursday Main Edition Should Georgia adopt a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists? Yes. Lawmakers should pay their own way, just like everybody else. The new Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform --- composed of Common Cause, Tea Party Patriots, Georgia Watch and Ray Boyd --- has proposed a $100 cap on lobbyist gifts to state and local elected officials, as well as their staffs and families, specifically including travel. We're not trying to eliminate ordinary business meetings to discuss legislation. We're trying to end free product samplers, Super Bowl tickets, golf weekends, fishing and hunting expeditions, and overseas "fact finding" trips that are all just junkets in disguise. We want to cut them off because they're corrupting. Perhaps not in the narrow sense of bribery where in return for receipt of a thing of value, officials make decisions they would not otherwise make. Rather, they are corrupting in more subtle and important ways. While most officials recognize and reject bribes, they can easily succumb to and tolerate other forms of corruption without even thinking of it as such. The first is special friendship, which is a much more powerful corrupter than money. When you become an elected official or staff member, you find that many lobbyists want to be your friend. Gifts and pleasant time spent together are ways of making special friends. Lobbyists very likely don't even want anything specific at the time. They just want to be your friend, so that when needed, they can call on that friendship to help sway your decision. The average citizen doesn't have that advantage. The second is the "legislative lifestyle." Officials and staffs who live high on the hog simply because they are in public life tend to get out of touch with life as average citizens. Their way of looking at things becomes shaped by their own privileged experiences, not by the real world. That, too, is corrupting, because hanging onto that "lifestyle" by staying in office --- whatever it takes --- becomes paramount. In a republic, they should live like the rest of us, including paying for things with money they have earned. Some officials say that disclosure alone is enough. We're for disclosure, and we believe that it should be extended to officials' families and their staff, who are not currently covered by the law. But disclosure alone is not enough. If it were, even bribery itself should be legal, as long as it is disclosed. Some things should just plain be illegal. Moreover, disclosure delayed can effectively be disclosure denied. We just saw an example of that, where the nearly $18,000 Thanksgiving trip for House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, wasn't disclosed until after the election for the speaker. Some officials also say that we should give the current laws a chance to work. But nobody makes that argument about, say, education. When have you heard someone say, "Last year we found some small ways to help education, and we should give them a chance to work before we try to find any new ways to help." This is just a feeble excuse not to do anything about ethics this year. Other officials say a cap would cause lobbyist to go underground. We shouldn't make a law because people might break it? We don't say that about laws limiting the speed of cars, or even murder. Sure, people will still speed, a few will still murder, but we don't say, "Let's not have a law because if we do, people will still break it." This shouldn't be controversial. Other states, including Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, severely limit lobbyist gifts. The people of Georgia don't like lobbyist gifts, either, and it's time to stop them. William Perry is executive director of Common Cause Georgia. Bob Irvin, a former GOP minority leader in the Georgia House, is its board chairman. No. Gift bans don't address the issue: Why do groups need to lobby? President Barack Obama's State of the Union included a challenge to Congress to publicly disclose when lawmakers are meeting with lobbyists. Transparency and lobbying, regulation and lobbying, and limits on lobbying aren't unique to Congress and are in fact increasingly bantered about as a cure to all which ails the issue of ethics and Georgia. These formulaic fixes aren't thoughtful. Regardless of the current or future rules imposed, the major "issues" of lobbying won't be resolved by new legislative rules on elected officials or reporting requirements on those who wish to influence. Georgia House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard has indicted his intent for more regulation of lobbying in an attempt to curb bad lobbying influence in Georgia. Other groups have argued that more transparency and gift limits are the way to go by requiring increased lobbying disclosures. These techniques will not curb the improper influence that many watchdog groups feel is exerted on legislators by lobbyists. Many states have famously issued gift limits on legislators. Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan supported and signed into law sweeping ethics reform legislation during his tenure, including a $100 gift limit. How did that turn out? Ryan now sits in a federal prison. Lest you think the ethics problems ended with that Republican governor we can look no further than the ethics problems of his successor, Democratic Gov. Rob Blagojevich. Disclosure reports are a good act of transparency but aren't perfect. The U.S. Government Accountability Office discovered that lobbyists err in making disclosures in different forms between 11 and 12 percent of the time. Disclosures may serve as an "embarrassment factor," which allows the media to highlight conflicts of interest, but it isn't 100 percent effective against lobbying abuse. What elected officials have to realize is that nothing will ever completely stop those who want to influence elected officials. Yes, the question has to be raised about what can stop those few bad apples who wish to corrupt a system. But those individuals will break the laws no matter what is imposed on the larger lobbying community. I'm not arguing that lobbying reforms aren't important. But the public and public officials need to ask themselves: Why does lobbying increase every year? Why does your constituency feel the need to employ so many lobbyists to see you? "Lobbying becomes a booming business" was the headline of one Atlanta Journal- Constitution article, which highlighted excessive Atlanta spending on federal lobbying. That article cited how federal lobbying has increased by $1 billion since 2007 --- the year Congress put into law its lobbying reform legislation. Lobbying is a booming business because municipalities, nonprofits and companies believe they have to pay top dollar to influence their elected officials. Instead of replicating semi-adequate lobbying rules, which have failed elsewhere, it would be far better for the Georgia Legislature to get at the heart of why people pay for influence. Maury Litwack is a lobbyist and founder of the advocacy education and training firm Capitol Plan in Washington, D.C. The Baltimore Sun February 3, 2011 Thursday FINAL EDITION SLOTS APPEAL LAWYER HAS JOCKEY CLUB TIES; BLUMENTHAL IS REGISTERED LOBBYIST FOR LAUREL OWNER The attorney representing opponents of a slots parlor at Arundel Mills mall in a new legal challenge is a registered lobbyist for the Maryland Jockey Club - the project's most vocal opponent - according to Anne Arundel County records. Harry C. Blumenthal, an Annapolis attorney, is representing a homeowners association and three residents of a nearby housing development in a complaint alleging that Anne Arundel County officials improperly approved the Cordish Cos.' plan to accommodate increased traffic around a planned slots parlor and entertainment complex at Arundel Mills. Blumenthal and the Jockey Club say the track owner is not involved with the current appeal, although Blumenthal said he has done lobbying work for the Jockey Club regarding slots zoning in the past. Although Cordish has the proper zoning to construct the $1 billion casino, entertainment complex and seven-story parking garage, the complaint filed last week with the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals has the potential to slow construction because the process prevents the county from granting Cordish a building permit. The appeals board plans to hear the case sometime in March and has 60 days from then to issue a ruling, which can be appealed to county Circuit Court. Joseline Castanos is one of the residents named in the appeal. "I don't know who's paying" Blumenthal, said Castanos, a program administrator at a local university who has lived in the community of homes near the mall with her husband and two daughters since 2000. "To me it's not relevant. The relevant thing is that we need the traffic to be addressed. The residents who live around the mall are the ones who are going to have to deal with it." According to records filed with the county's Ethics Commission, Blumenthal is a registered lobbyist in Anne Arundel County for several clients, including the Jockey Club. It is not uncommon for attorneys to work as lobbyists for more than one organization and on a project-by-project basis. "I have not done any lobbying work for the Maryland Jockey Club for quite some time, although I continue to be a registered lobbyist, as I again may become involved with matters applicable to Laurel Park," Blumenthal said in an e-mail Tuesday. "The Maryland Jockey Club informed me that it will not be paying me for the appeal." Blumenthal, who has been a lobbyist for the Jockey Club since at least 2006, according to ethics records, said he has not recently been paid by the Jockey Club. Since slots were first approved in Maryland, the Jockey Club, which owns Laurel Park Race Course, has pushed hard for slots at the track, advocating it as a way to rescue the state's beleaguered horse racing industry. After Cordish won zoning approval from the Anne Arundel County Council early last year, residents who live near the mall and oppose the casino, funded by the Jockey Club, secured a ballot referendum on the zoning, despite a months-long court fight waged by Cordish. Altogether, both sides spent about $12 million on the ballot referendum, which Cordish won. In a brief e-mail, Tom Chuckas, president of the Jockey Club, said Blumenthal "does not represent MJC on [the zoning appeal]. MJC is not a litigant." According to ethics disclosure forms, Blumenthal has earned about $175,000 through his work for the Jockey Club. The bulk of that money - $113,431 - was paid to him from May 1 to Oct. 31, 2010, during the height of the slots legal fight, according to the forms. Including the Jockey Club, Blumenthal lobbies for 26 companies, including several developers. He is one of two registered county lobbyists for the Jockey Club. In a follow-up e-mail, Blumenthal said, "The money paid to me was for work and lobbying associated with the complex and multiple zoning legislation applicable to casinos in the county." Joseph Weinberg, president of development at Cordish, calls the newest challenge frivolous and another attempt at delay, saying his company plans various road improvements to accommodate traffic beyond what is required by law. Weinberg said in a brief interview that he believes the Jockey Club is involved with the appeal. "Mr. Blumenthal is a registered lobbyist for the Maryland Jockey Club," said Weinberg. "Common sense is common sense." He added that while "there's a certainly a potential" for the appeal to delay the project, "We plan to keep plowing ahead." Cordish, which plans to construct the parking garage containing a temporary casino with about 2,000 slot machines by the end of this year, and the entire 4,750-slot machine project by the end of 2012, has permission to begin site preparation during the appeal. Cordish officials say that grading work should take about two months to complete. Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia) February 3, 2011, Thursday Officials blur lines between election, jobs With four of the state's top elected officials running for governor, the lines between their official work for the state of West Virginia and their campaign work has begun to blur. In recent days: -Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has made campaign phone calls from a lobbyist's office. -Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who oversees the state's elections, may decide whether hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by Tomblin and Treasurer John Perdue for a campaign in 2012 can legally be used in 2011. Her decision could be seen - rightly or not - as a political move on her part. -A state worker employed by Perdue called a county Democratic Party chairwoman to tell her about a breakfast the treasurer would attend, leaving it unclear to even the chairwoman whether Perdue was coming as the treasurer or a candidate for governor. -After work, House Speaker Rick Thompson makes calls seeking campaign contributions. All are Democrats. But not any of this is new. Lawmakers routinely ask for money from people with issues before the Legislature; state workers take time off to help reelect their bosses; and at least two secretaries of state - Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin - ran for governor from that office. One of the biggest land mines so far may be the Secretary of State's Office. Tennant, who will launch her campaign today at a pizza joint in her native Marion County, is being asked to decide whether or not money that potential candidates raised for an election in 2012 can be used this year instead. That could affect more than $200,000 raised by Tomblin for 2012. Tomblin, who is acting as governor by virtue of being the president of the Senate, had argued there didn't need to be an election to fill the vacancy left by Manchin until 2012, but the Supreme Court said otherwise. "What they've told the campaign is you can roll money forward but you can't roll things back," said Rob Alsop, a spokesman for Tomblin. Several hundred thousand raised by Perdue's campaign could also be affected, but that was unclear Wednesday evening. His campaign spokesman Chuck Smith said he would consult lawyers to look at the issue, but said of Tennant, "Sounds to me like she's trying to make a decision that favors her." Tennant's office declined to comment, but sources said her office might ask Attorney General Darrell McGraw to settle the matter. Mike Plante, Thompson's campaign director, said he had been advised that there could be a problem before they set up their account. "We were told not once but a couple of times you can only roll money forward, not backward," Plante said. But even if Tennant sticks by that interpretation, she could easily face accusations that she is trying to disadvantage some of her opponents. Perdue could face similar criticism. The treasurer's office employs a number of field representatives known as local government specialists - a position that has been criticized for harboring some patronage jobs. Late last month, one of them, Pat Jack, called Donna Matthews, the chairwoman of the Upshur County Democratic Executive Committee and the president of the county's Democratic Women. "He said, 'Would you please let your Democratic Executive Committee and your Democratic Women know that they are welcome to come have breakfast with John Perdue,' " she said. The next morning, she sent an e-mail to about two dozen people advertising the breakfast. "Per Pat Jack," she said in the e-mail, which was forwarded to a reporter who then contacted her to confirm its authenticity. Matthews said the call from Jack came on a Monday afternoon. Jack couldn't be reached Wednesday evening to comment. Both Smith and a spokesman for the treasurer's office said treasurer's office employees shouldn't be campaigning on state time. "Everybody has been given strict orders not to do anything on the campaign while they are on state time," said the spokesman, Nelson Sorah. The breakfast itself is scheduled for 9 a.m. next Friday in Buckhannon. Matthews said she still isn't sure if Perdue's event is for the campaign or if he's coming to do his state job. "I don't know on what behalf he's coming," she said. "I don't know which one he's coming as." Other officials have straddled a similar line. Tennant, for instance, recently held an official press conference, and then stepped outside her Capitol office into the hallway to talk to a reporter about her campaign. Alsop, Tomblin's chief of staff, also recently stepped outside the Capitol to confirm information about the campaign to a reporter. The telephone interview he gave for this interview was given Wednesday after work. To raise money and seek support, Tomblin one day used the office of pharmaceutical and oil and natural gas lobbyist Phil Reale to make phone calls for his campaign. Tomblin used the office because he doesn't have a campaign headquarters yet. His campaign planned to pay for using Reale's space, Alsop said, and once they have a headquarters, "that will eliminate any question anyone has." Reale, who has also been advising Tomblin during his transition, led Gaston Caperton's transition team in the late 1980s and was Caperton's chief of staff. That is when he met Tomblin, then the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "He has been the single most important force in managing our state's money," Reale said. Tomblin has also had a couple meetings with other friends. Attendees of at least one of those meetings included lobbyists or former lobbyists Nelson Robinson, John Cavacini and Richard Stevens. One non-lobbyist attendee was Martha Walker, the director of the Governor's Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning. Alsop said those meetings couldn't be categorized as gubernatorial meetings or campaign meetings, and said Tomblin's doors were open to anyone. Thompson likewise has made calls after work, often from Plante's office. He would benefit - as would Tomblin - from endorsements by interest groups with legislation pending in the Legislature. Josh Sword, the political director of the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said interest groups stand to benefit from the current political environment. "Politicians get elected to offices by the voters - let's face it - and I think we're at a point where a number of people are trying to do things that will garner more votes in the future," he said. "I think it's very fair to say we're viewing this as an opportunity." Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, a potential candidate for governor himself, has said he will not campaign for governor from the president's chair. He said some of the conduct "creates the appearance that people are buying access." "It creates a lack of confidence in their public officials," he said. But even Kessler's newly hired administrative assistant - Steve McElroy, the former head of the West Virginia Nurses Association - was a registered lobbyist last year, something Kessler said Wednesday he did not know. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) February 2, 2011 Wednesday Year wait on lobbying by legislators advances Bill clears Senate panel; House step next Legislation to bar state lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for a year after departing office sailed through an Arkansas Senate committee Tuesday. The bill is Senate Bill 194 by Sen. Paul Bookout, D-Jonesboro. Similar legislation, House Bill 1284 by House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, is pending in the House Rules Committee, scheduled to meet at noon today. Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, said he's thought for many years that there should be a "cooling-off" period between when a legislator working on public policy leaves office and when the former legislator begins lobbying lawmakers on legislation. This measure reflects a compromise among legislative leaders, he said. "We are on the cusp of doing something historic," he told the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. "It's a great step forward." Senate Democratic leader Robert Thompson of Paragould said the bill, if enacted, will apply to anyone elected to the General Assembly af- ter the effective day of the legislation. The legislation would take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns. "So that covers everyone in the 2012 election," said Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home. Gov. Mike Beebe, a senator for 20 years, has questioned whether a bill sets strictenough ethical standards if it exempts current lawmakers, as this one does - it would not apply to current legislators who do not seek re-election in 2012. Twenty- four representatives and 11 senators are barred from seeking re-election under the state's term-limits amendment. Others may opt not to seek re-election in 2012. Thompson told the committee that legislative leaders didn't propose a bill applying the one-year waiting period for all current lawmakers because "there were different people with different thoughts" and certain lawmakers thought it was unfair to change "the rules" after they were elected. "At least, we know it will apply to 135 legislators at the same time [in the future]," he said. The committee amended the Senate version to increase the number of senators sponsoring it from eight to 33. The two senators not sponsoring the bill - Randy Laverty, D-Jasper, and Jerry Taylor, D-Pine Bluff - said they'll vote for it. In recent years, Baker and Thompson have pushed unsuccessfully for lawmakers to enact a cooling-off period. Act 1453 of 2003 bars legislators from registering as lobbyists before their terms end. That was enacted after then-Sens. Morril Harriman, D-Van Buren, and Tom Kennedy, D-Russellville, resigned in 2000 to accept lobbying jobs and former Rep. David Hausam, R-Bentonville, resigned in 2002 to take one. Baker was a sponsor of that law, which he's said was designed to improve the public's confidence in legislators. Harriman is now Beebe's chief of staff. Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, who's on the Senate committee, said, " It gives me a little bit of heartburn to tell somebody, a citizen, that is otherwise constitutionally qualified that if they serve in the Legislature, they can't take a job lobbying [for a year after leaving office]." But he said he'd vote for the bill. Thompson said more than half of the states and Congress have "a cooling-off period" before lawmakers can be lobbyists. SB194 and HB1284 also require that the reimbursement to lawmakers who travel to out-of-state conferences be "the lesser rate of reasonable airfare or the established rate of private car mileage based on map mileage when driven." The proposed legislation mandates that travel authorized by a chairman of a legislative committee shall also be subject to approval by the speaker of the House or the president pro tempore of the Senate. When the speaker or president pro tempore provides the written authorization for travel, he or his designee "shall determine the amount of reimbursement in dollars and cents." The travel provision comes after Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the past several years about lawmakers traveling long distances to conferences and collecting more than $1,000 in mileage. "It was just something we noticed that we needed to tighten up to try to be more responsible with the way in which we handled that issue and to do it in the most costeffective way," Bookout said. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) February 2, 2011 Wednesday Kasich: Ex-advisers won't get lobbying favors Gov. John Kasich said yesterday that there will be no special favors for three of his former inner-circle campaign advisers now lobbying for clients that could benefit from his administration's actions. Kasich, who during the campaign railed against special interests with their "snouts in the trough," told The Dispatch that clients of Donald Thibaut, Robert F. Klaffky and Douglas J. Preisse will get no preferred treatment. "All of my friends understand," Kasich said. "I've told them, 'You're crazy if you don't make it clear to (clients), you don't get any favors out of me.' There is no favoritism." Thibaut, Kasich's former congressional chief of staff and his acknowledged closest friend, registered for the first time as a lobbyist in a firm he created, The Credo Company. Among the six clients Thibaut reported signing up is Corrections Corporation of America, a Nashville-based prison operator that could benefit if Kasich seeks to privatize Ohio prisons. CCA currently operates a federal prison in Youngstown. Gary C. Mohr, whom Kasich appointed director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, spent five years as a consultant to CCA, which designs, builds and manages federal and state prisons. Klaffky and Preisse, partners in the long-standing Capitol Square lobbying firm of Van Meter, Ashbrook and Associates, represent The GEO Group Inc., a Florida-based competitor of CCA. Preisse and Klaffky played key policy and strategy roles in Kasich's campaign last year. Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County GOP, also headed Kasich's inaugural committee. Klaffky helped conceive Kasich's JobsOhio initiative to privatize the job-growth functions of the Ohio Department of Development. Last month, Kasich had Klaffky explain the JobsOhio bill in private to the GOP House and Senate caucuses -- a role usually consigned to an administration official and rarely to a lobbyist. "Klaffky was involved in JobsOhio during the campaign," Kasich said. "I had the vision; he helped me put it together. He has no business before the Department of Development or whatever. "We've instituted a policy in my office that nobody, and I mean nobody, comes to me directly to talk to me about any of their client interests. Anything as it relates to me goes through (Chief of Staff) Beth (Hansen). I made it clear in the cabinet meeting that nobody gets a special deal -- nobody." Preisse told The Dispatch recently that he and the others are bound by state lobbying rules and laws, and they would never embarrass Kasich because of their loyalty to him and support for his agenda. Kasich said he has made it clear to everybody: "Friendships end at the governor's door." To search for Statehouse lobbyists and their clients, go to the Ohio Lobbying Activity Center at: www2.jlec-olig.state.oh.us/olac/. Newsday (New York) February 2, 2011 Wednesday ALL EDITIONS Guv calls for ethics reform bill ALBANY - Perhaps the most dramatic moment of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's budget address yesterday had nothing to do with the budget. The governor, his tone turning cajoling, called for passage of an ethics reform bill, saying it was his top priority besides the budget. "Why?" Cuomo said. "To restore your credibility and restore your integrity and say to the people of this state they can trust this body called the legislature once again." Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) bristled a bit at the lecturing tone and signaled that legislators might buck the governor. "I'm for transparency and I'm for more disclosure," Skelos said. "But I also believe that the Legislature has to be part of the process. This not going to be a process where everything is driven by the executive branch." Republicans last year helped block the override of former Gov. David A. Paterson's veto of an ethics reform measure. Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has allowed ethics bills to pass the Democrat-controlled Assembly, said there was "no question" ethics reform was needed. But he said the executive branch needs to rebuild trust, too. "It's about the government. Period," Silver said. "People are frustrated ... and it's beyond the Legislature." Cuomo said last week that he is working with Silver, Skelos and Senate Democrats to write an ethics reform bill. An official with knowledge of Cuomo and lawmakers' talks said campaign finance and redistricting were not part of the discussions. Instead, the leaders were focused on income and client disclosures, an ethics investigatory commission and lobbying rules, the official said. Ethics investigators would be named by an appointing commission with members selected by the governor and legislative leaders, the official said. Orange County Register (California) February 2, 2011 Wednesday County approves lobbyists' sign-up Lobbyists hoping to influence how the county of Orange spends taxpayer dollars will soon have to register in a public database, the county's first step toward transparency in a 13-month struggle over whether lobbyists should be regulated. Three previous attempts in less than a year to register lobbyists fell short, dismissed by the Board of Supervisors as unnecessary and a "solution looking for a problem." In an apparent change of heart, the board unanimously approved a fourth proposal Tuesday that spelled out what lobbyists are and how they should be regulated when it comes to seeking to influence county business. The ordinance is intended to "increase transparency, accountability, and trust in the Board's decision making process," according to the staff report. But what the lobbyists are lobbying for and whom they talked to still won't have to be disclosed. The lobbyist registration ordinance will come back to the board next week with a few clarifications before it is officially enacted. Lobbyists would need to begin registering July 1. "It's fantastic for taxpayers," said Jennifer Muir, spokeswoman for the Orange County Employees Association. "Given what we've seen with the Orange County fairgrounds and the city of Bell, the Board of Supervisors took the right step for the taxpayers and the public." With a budget of more than $5.4 billion, Orange County is the largest local government in California that doesn't publicly register those trying to influence lawmakers. The lack of any lobbyist registration requirements was criticized in a recent Orange County grand jury report. While lobbyist reform continued to languish in the county of Orange, state Sen. Lou Correa introduced a bill in December that would require lobbyist registration at the local government level. After rebuffing the latest lobbyist registration proposal Nov. 23, the supervisors handed the issue over to Chief Executive Tom Mauk and County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos, giving them 60 days to come up with a simple definition of lobbyists - and a way to regulate them. The proposed ordinance defines a lobbyist as anyone who makes $500 or more a month for lobbying on behalf of anyone other than an employer or is paid $500 or more a month by an employer to engage in lobbying activities. County lobbyist employers and county lobbying firms would also be required to register with the clerk of the board. Public employees and elected officials acting in their official capacity were exempted along with special districts, county commissions staffed by county employees, and trade organizations including chambers of commerce. Unions are not exempt. Nonprofits were originally excluded from registering by the proposed ordinance, but supervisors balked at the idea of allowing nonprofits seeking county contracts to slip under the radar by claiming nonprofit status. "If you're doing business with the county or trying to do business with the county, you should not be excluded," said Supervisor John Moorlach, who was one of the loudest voices questioning why a lobbyist registry was necessary. County counsel is working to clarify the role of nonprofits. Lobbyists would pay a one-time $75 registration fee and then a $50 annual fee. Lobbyists would have to file annual reports including their name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Supervisor Pat Bates questioned the fees, asking staff to come back next week and explain what the money was actually paying for since the reporting will all be done online. Registering late or failing to register quarterly would mean a written warning or a fine of up to $500. Knowingly breaking the rules could result in a fine of up to $2,500. Correa's legislation, SB31, is still in its infancy but would require any local government looking for state grant funds to have a lobbyist registration program. That bill also includes special districts. Former state Sen. Joe Dunn - now executive director of the California State Bar - proposed a county lobbyist registration system in January 2010, but the plan - which required both lobbyists and public officials to disclose their conversations - was rejected by supervisors and deemed unnecessary. Board Chairman Bill Campbell, a former state assemblyman, had patterned his lobbyist registration plan after the rules lobbyist have to play by in Sacramento. The proposal, introduced in November, would have required lobbyists to register four times a year. The proposal stopped short of forcing lobbyists to disclose their discussions. But it too was rejected. Campbell and Supervisor Janet Nguyen were the only supporters. Supervisors Pat Bates and Shawn Nelson, who voted against Campbell's proposal, then submitted their own plan, calling for lobbyists to register once a year. Lobbyists still would not have to identify who they were visiting. There also was no provision preventing lobbyists from raising campaign funds for the supervisors they lobby. But the plan was criticized as being overly broad - and supervisors sent Mauk and Chrisos back to the drawing board. Shirley Grindle, a longtime county watchdog, said she was surprised the all- Republican Board of Supervisors approved any kind of lobbyist measure but criticized the ordinance for stopping short of barring lobbyists from campaigning for or fundraising for the elected officials they are lobbying. "They haven't addressed the real issue," Grindle said. "It's nice to know who's lobbying behind closed doors, but one of the greatest impacts a lobbyist can have is the fundraising and campaign consulting they do for the supervisors they are lobbying." The Washington Times February 2, 2011 Wednesday Ethics rules let D.C. Council members shield outside income; Chairman got $45,000 in '09 D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown last year reported earning $45,000 in outside income on top of his six-figure government salary for 2009, but who paid him and why is anybody's guess. City ethics rules don't require Mr. Brown to say. Mr. Brown, a Democrat and at-large council member before his recent election as chairman, is among a group of five council members who last year reported earning tens of thousands of dollars in outside income in 2009. As chairman, Mr. Brown is restricted in his ability to earn outside pay, but other council members are free to earn money on the side. In some cases, lawmakers' outside pay eclipses their government salaries of about $125,000 per year. A review of council members' most recent financial statements on file with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance reflects varying levels of disclosure about outside employment. Some statements list an employer, some don't. In the end, it's up to the lawmakers to police themselves on potential conflicts of interest. D.C. rules require lawmakers to make public their outside income sources only if an employer or client did business with the city government or stood to gain from pending legislation during the past calendar year. By contrast, political appointees in the federal government sign ethics forms that must include all clients or employers who have paid the appointee more than $5,000 during a one-year reporting period - regardless of whether the employer or client did business with the government. Mr. Brown, who has pledged to make government more transparent, noted on his disclosure form that he earned $45,000 through "self-employment." His office did not respond to questions about whether he has a registered business, what sort of work he performed and who hired him. Ethics analysts say that although D.C. lawmakers appear to comply with the letter of the law, the city's rules don't go far enough. "Personal financial disclosure requirements are designed to serve far greater interests than simply show if a government contractor is trying to buy an officeholder," said Craig Holman, an ethics specialist and legislative representative at D.C.-based Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group. "These reports are also designed to shed light on who, and which business interests, may be seeking favorable treatment through legislation, licenses, tax policies or regulation," he said. Judy Nadler, senior fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, said of the disclosure policies, "The fact is, these are significant amounts well in excess of their council salaries." Added Anne Bauer, researcher at the National Institute on Money in State Politics, "There's a need to know more." Wesley Williams, a spokesman for the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, defended the city's financial disclosure rules. "The honorarium and financial disclosure statute is designed to capture the financial interest of public officials in businesses that do business with the District of Columbia government," he said, adding that the honorarium and disclosure policies act in tandem. "Thus, any existing or potential conflict of interest a member of the council may be confronted with that may or may not have been disclosed in the council member's [financial disclosure] would be covered under the conflict-of-interest statute," he said. "Accordingly, the existence of the conflict would require the council member to recuse himself when matters involving that entity are before the council," Mr. Williams said. "Therefore, we believe the current disclosure requirements are sufficient for our enforcement responsibilities under both statutes." Council members Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, and Michael A. Brown, at-large independent, both lawyers, took home more than $200,000 each in outside pay in 2009. Neither disclosed any clients they represented, though Mr. Evans did report the name of the law firm that employs him, Patton Boggs LLP. Two other council members with six-figure outside salaries disclosed information about their employers. Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, disclosed earning $120,000 per year as general counsel of OpenBand of Virginia LLC, a licensed telecommunications carrier and a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Virginia-based M.C. Dean. On disclosure forms, Mr. Catania said he recuses himself from any matters involving M.C. Dean, which has held contracts with the D.C. government. Council member Mary M. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, has reported earning more than $200,000 from her job as a law professor at George Washington University. Neither Michael A. Brown nor Mr. Evans listed any information about the clients they work for in their law practice. Michael Brown also did not identify the name of the law firm where he works, disclosing only that he had earned $250,000. A spokeswoman for Michael Brown said he earned the money from his position as a lawyer at the Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge law firm. Asked whether he would consider making public the clients for whom he works, the spokeswoman said Mr. Brown is in full compliance with all city ethics rules and regulations. Mr. Evans listed Patton Boggs as his employer because ethics rules require lawmakers to identify employers doing business with the District. Patton Boggs has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years lobbying Congress on behalf of both the city's deputy mayor for planning and economic development and the office of the chief financial officer, which is overseen by the council finance committee that Mr. Evans heads. According to U.S. Senate forms, the lobbying relationship terminated last year. Mr. Evans, who reported earning $240,000 as a lawyer at Patton Boggs, has recused himself from matters involving the firm's lobbying work for the District. Patton Boggs has a long list of federal lobbying clients. As a council member, Mr. Evans worked on a tax-abatement deal last year to help lure defense giant Northrop Grumman to the District, though the plans never materialized. Subsequently, Patton Boggs filed papers with the U.S. Senate indicating that the firm was lobbying Congress on behalf of Northrop Grumman on unrelated federal issues. There's no indication that Mr. Evans has performed any work at Patton Boggs for Northrop Grumman. He would be required to recuse himself if he did, but that's a decision left to him. In general, the lack of disclosure about outside legal work leaves the public in the dark, with lawmakers in a position to decide what constitutes a potential conflict and when to report it, Mr. Holman said. "Outside income is an ideal opportunity for a business to curry favor with a legislator, especially when that outside money may be substantial and when disclosure is incomplete or even nonexistent," Mr. Holman said. "The incomplete records of Mr. Evans, for example, fail to arrest citizen concerns of undue influence peddling," he said. Those same questions also concern D.C. resident John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who first raised questions about Mr. Evans' work on the Northrop Grumman tax deal last year on the website of the watchdog group D.C. Watch. Mr. Hanrahan said there was an appearance of a conflict of interest. Mr. Evans' office did not respond to e-mail questions about his work for Patton Boggs. In 2003, the Office of Campaign Finance issued a formal opinion stating that Mr. Evans' role as chairman of the council's finance committee would not pose a conflict of interest with his employment with Patton Boggs as long as he continued to refrain from any activity suggesting his roles on the council and law firm overlapped. On Patton Boggs' website, the firm states that Mr. Evans' areas of practice include business, municipal representation, public policy and lobbying and securities matters. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) February 1, 2011 Tuesday Bills limit ex-legislators' lobbying; Twin measures seek year's wait, also address travel expenses Bills filed Monday by legislative leaders would prohibit lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for one year after leaving office. Identical bills - Senate Bill 194 by Sen. Paul Bookout, D-Jonesboro, and House Bill 1284 by Rep. Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City - were filed with 20 sponsors among the 133 legislators. Moore said the measure would exempt from the oneyear waiting requirement legislators who don't run for reelection in 2012. That would, therefore, exempt current legislators who, after their current terms, are prohibited by the state's term- limits amendment from seeking reelection. The provision that would require legislators to wait until a year after their terms expire before registering as lobbyists says it will apply to "all persons elected to the General Assembly on or after" the date the measure takes effect, leading some observers to ask whether it would therefore apply as well to the current legislators who are about to be term-limited. Moore, a lawyer, said it would not apply to them. Gov. Mike Beebe, a senator for 20 years, has questioned whether a bill sets strictenough ethical standards if it exempts current lawmakers. Rep. Eddie Cheatham, D-Crossett, called the plan a start. Public perception of lawmakers' actions is important, he said. "We need to do something. A little step is better than nothing," Cheatham said. Cheatham filed legislation with a two-year waiting period but withdrew it in favor of a bipartisan measure that emerged Monday. If there is an exemption for legislators who don't run for re-election in 2012, for practical purposes the moratorium would take effect in the 2015 legislative session. Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor would have preferred a twoyear moratorium. DeCample wasn't sure whether Beebe ever filed legislation restricting legislators from becoming lobbyists while he was in the Senate. Moore has said that the exemption was one of the ideas suggested by Democrats and Republicans. He compared not exempting current lawmakers who may have counted on a chance to lobby in the future to changing the rules during the game. Twenty-eight of the 98 House members are in their third term and could benefit from the exemption. Thirdterm legislators cannot seek another term in 2012 under the term-limits amendment. Moore, serving his final House term, said he does not plan to become a lobbyist. More than 30 states have laws barring former lawmakers from lobbying their former colleagues for certain periods, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. The bills also state that legislators would be reimbursed for the cheapest mode of travel to out-of-state conferences, either for mileage reimbursement or the cost of airfare when traveling on the taxpayers' dime, unless some other arrangement is worked out with the leaders of the legislative chambers. The reimbursement provision is a response to actions by some legislators who drove to faraway conferences and collected mileage payments exceeding $1,000 from the state, instead of taking the cheaper option of airfare. Legislators receive 51 cents per mile. State employees receive 42. Similar legislation restricting travel payments was filed in the 2009 legislative session by Rep. Ann Clemmer, R-Benton, without success. She is a co-sponsor on the bill filed Monday. Clemmer's bill died in the committee, which was led by Moore at the time. Des Moines Register February 1, 2011 Tuesday Ankeny lobbyist keeps tabs on Statehouse Mona Bond's background makes her perfect for the job. A former county supervisor with experience as chief executive officer of an agribusiness association, she has a passion for policy. Lobbying for her home city gives her an edge, Bond says. "If there are things that are going to happen to the city of Ankeny, I have a vested interest," she said. Bond has been Ankeny's lobbyist for nearly a decade, spending several hours each week trolling legislative bills. "I monitor legislation that impacts the city," Bond said. "The primary job of any lobbyist is to monitor that legislation and see what impacts their clients." Bond is a registered lobbyist for the city of Ankeny, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, and Manatt's Inc. Bond said she sends weekly reports to the city. "We either take a position for, against or undecided," she said, noting the process is transparent. "I have to be registered on a bill to talk with a legislator," she added. "You can go online and look at all the bills we're registered on." Mayor Steve Van Oort said Bond is well-versed on the community. "She lives here, she understands it and understands the issues of a growing community," he said. Bond is one of only a handful of lobbyists who represent cities in Iowa, including West Des Moines, Coralville, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. The current session has been fairly quiet for cities, she said. "So far, we haven't had a lot of bills that we're jumping on here from a city perspective," she said. "Many things that are of interest to the cities will come a little later in the session." Bond said the big topics for this year will be budget-related, including limitations that may be placed on cities. Van Oort said Ankeny needs to be aware of legislation that could change how the city does business. "We realized eight or nine years ago that we needed to have representation at the Capitol to be able to monitor what was happening and what was going on," he said. The focus is not to be a watchdog of legislators, he added. Instead, the city wants to be a resource - getting information to legislators as quickly as possible. "When the governor says he wants to take a very hard look at property tax and commercial property tax, we have to be aware of all the things that are happening with that because property tax is what finances the city," Van Oort said. "If they're going to be doing something that affects us and we don't find out until next week, it may be too late." It's the constant change in her job that keeps her going each day, she said. "Nothing is ever the same," she said. "I love new challenges. It keeps everything spiced up and exciting. "I love to be around policymakers," she adds. "I find it so diverse. Everything I do is different every single day." Previously, she was chief executive officer of Agribusiness Association, after working 11 years for the Iowa Department of Agriculture. She also served as a county supervisor in Poweshiek County in the 1980s. Currently, she's vice president of public relations at PMCI and environmental coordinator for Manatt's Inc. When the Legislature isn't in session, she handles environmental permits for Manatt's and membership and fundraising for PMCI. One of Bond's proudest accomplishments is earning her college degree, something she did the same year as one of her sons. She graduated in 1992 from Iowa State University. Bond was a farm kid from southeast Iowa, she says. After high school graduation, she attended business school in Minnesota. "It was OK and it was very acceptable in 1969," she said. She married, had a family and went to work. "When I went back, I went back with the purpose to get my degree in mass communications and political science," she said. "I knew where I wanted to go." Bond and her husband moved to Ankeny in 1992. She's married to retired county conservation director Darwin Koenig. The couple have two sons and now have five grandchildren. Idaho State Journal February 1, 2011 Tuesday Dems introduce three ethics bills; Pocatellans co-sponsor legislation BOISE --Two state senators from Pocatello have co-sponsored three bills designed to keep public officials honest and send a message to Idaho citizens that their government is being run on the up and up. "The bills are about keeping everybody honest and keeping ethical standards in everything we do here in the statehouse," says Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello , who is a co-sponsor of the bills along with Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello , and the Idaho Senate's five other Democrats. Together, Malepeai says, the bills promote high ethical standards among government officials and back them up by including penalties for violating them. "This is just a way to ensure that whoever's involved in conducting the public's business is involved with high ethics," he says. "We're trying to restore the confidence people have in their government institutions." The lawmakers have introduced a "campaign finance" bill that prohibits campaign contributions to legislators, the governor or lieutenant governor while the legislature is in session. The legislative session typically starts in early January and runs for two to three months. "Contributing money to legislators or the governor or lieutenant governor while we're in session really should be illegal," Malepeai says of Senate Bill 1036. "There should be no misperception by the general public that we're accepting money as we're making decisions." Senate Bill 1037 would require a "cooling-off period " of one year before a government officer or employee can go to work for or receive benefits from a person or business if that employee participated in the awarding of a large contract or lease to that person or business in the two years before leaving public service. "We want that one-year cooling off period so, again, there's no misperception that there's some shady things going on," Malepeai says. Senate Bill 1038 clarifies that current state executive officials and legislators cannot register as a lobbyist or receive compensation to influence legislation, rule making, contracts, bids, financial services agreements or bond issues. The bill would also put in place a one-year cooling off period before executive officials or legislators could register as a lobbyist after they leave public service. "What we're saying is, 'kind of cool off for a little bit,'" Malepeai says. "At least be out of office for a year before you can begin working for a lobbying firm." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution January 31, 2011 Monday Main Edition Lobbyists' disclosures don't tell full story About 180 times last year, state disclosures show, a lobbyist gave House Speaker David Ralston something: a meal, a drink, a round of golf, a family trip to Europe. We know these lobbyists spent about $35,000 on the speaker in 2010. What we don't know is much more significant: What did they want from him? Most lobbyists never answer that question, and Georgia doesn't really make them. Under the state's disclosure law, lobbyists must say what bill or regulation they were trying to influence when they pay for dinner or golf, but that can be interpreted so narrowly that they can report anything --- or nothing --- as the purpose of their expenditure. Four times lobbyists filed a gift disclosure specifying the bill that they schmoozed Ralston about. On four or five other reports they mentioned the topic of conversation but no particulars. The rest of the time not even a topic was disclosed. We're talking about this because lobbyist Chris Brady spent $17,000-plus last fall to take Ralston, his chief of staff and their families on a trip. Brady's official disclosure said nothing about the reason for the trip nor the destination; further investigation showed they went to Germany and the Netherlands to check out high-speed rail. What did Brady want in return? The common assumption is funding for a study of magnetic levitation technology. Brady has been promoting maglev since the 1990s as a U.S. Senate staffer, as a representative of a maglev vendor and as president of his own consulting firm, Commonwealth Research Associates. Commonwealth, working under a $7.8 million federal grant awarded to Georgia, is listed as a subcontractor on an environmental study of a possible high-speed rail line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. Building that line would cost an estimated $6 billion to $9 billion to serve about 10,000 passengers a day. As a lobbyist, Brady also represents the Chamber of Commerce in Dalton, a community that has been asked to come up with money to match a second federal maglev grant, and the Georgia Central Railway, which runs a short freight line from Macon to Savannah. Long-range plans call for possibly extending the maglev line south to Macon and Savannah. Brady did not return several telephone and e-mail messages seeking clarification. Commonwealth, in documents submitted to MARTA in 2009, described many past lobbying successes. The company said it had won U.S. Senate support for money to help Atlanta pay for sewer repairs; congressional approval for $1 billion in maglev funding; and support of Georgia legislative and transportation officials for maglev. Brady and his associate Linda Hamrick "are the sole advocates in our field responsible for these [pro-maglev] efforts," according to the lobbyists' pitch for MARTA's business. "This project would not be where it is but for our efforts." The pair accomplished most of this, though, with little or no lobbyist disclosure. A search of state and federal lobbyist databases shows nothing connecting them to maglev interests until this month and, in Washington, nothing linking them to Atlanta's City Hall. Perhaps their work didn't require that Hamrick or Brady register as lobbyists, but, regardless, there were no clear disclosures of their clients or their spending. Last year, the State Ethics Commission dropped a case against a prominent lobbyist who had paid for a lot of dinners with the former House speaker without divulging the issues they discussed. Ethics lawyers determined the law did not require that information. Top Georgia lawmakers insist the best way to address gift-giving by lobbyists is to require swift disclosure rather than limiting or banning gifts. For that to work, though, the law must require meaningful disclosure of lobbyists' clients and purpose --- a step legislators have been unwilling to take. Just tell us what they want: beer sales on Sunday, a law to keep microchips out of our brains or a million bucks to study a maglev line to Chattanooga. Why is that so difficult? What is it they don't want us to know? Birmingham News (Alabama) January 31, 2011 Monday Fishing and football THE ISSUE: Those are perfect subjects for lobbyists and lawmakers to discuss when lobbyists are buying. The definition of frightening, the Oxford Dictionary tells us, is ''making you feel afraid.'' Which makes you feel more afraid? Lobbyists can spend unlimited money wining and dining Alabama lawmakers and other public officials while they try to influence them on legislation or other official action. Only when spending surpasses $250 a day do the lobbyists have to report it to the state Ethics Commission. Lobbyists can't try to persuade public officials to support legislation or take any other official action while buying them a meal. The lobbyists are limited to spending $25 a day (and $150 a year) per lawmaker or other public official, and the person or company hiring the lobbyist has spending limits set at $50 a day and $250 a year per official. The latter is the result of a new law the Legislature passed in its December special session, and replaces the former. One lobbyist who attended a first-ever mandatory training session for lobbyists last Monday called the new restriction ''frightening'' and said the Legislature should change it. ''Literally, I can't give them a cup of coffee or a Coke,'' complained Birmingham lawyer Bruce Ely, who lobbies on tax issues for a variety of business interests. If only that were true. Ely, and every other registered lobbyist, can give them a cup of coffee or a Coke or a nice meal of up to $25. Really, the only other restriction besides the spending limit is that the lobbyists can't talk during that time about a bill or other official action they are pushing or fighting, according to the Ethics Commission. The commission's director, Jim Sumner, said they are free to talk about fishing and football, but not a specific official issue. We're guessing they could also talk about NASCAR, their families and maybe even the weather, too. And if lobbyists want to lobby - after all, that is what they do - every minute except during the time lobbyists spend money on lawmakers is fair game. Lawmakers don't need a cup of coffee, a Coke, a glass of bourbon or grilled pompano in order to hear a lobbyist's pitch. That hardly sounds frightening, but it does sound like a drastic improvement. In fact, the Ethics Commission's interpretation of the new spending law is much stronger than suggested by initial reports. Gone are all-expenses-paid hunting and deep-sea fishing trips, visits to the beach, golf outings and such for purely social occasions, according to Sumner. (Oh, the pain!) There are still problems with loopholes allowing lobbyists to spend on transportation, meals, beverages, hospitality and lodging for lawmakers and their spouses who attend ''an educational function'' sponsored by a lobbyist or his employer. But if, in fact, the Ethics Commission's view holds that spending on and influencing of lawmakers or other public officials shouldn't happen at the same time, that's not frightening. That's fantastic. Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island) January 31, 2011 Monday Fox event attracts lobbyists and even GOP; Nearly 500 people attended House Speaker Gordon D. Fox s first fundraiser of the year, held at the Providence Marriott Tuesday, including statewide officeholders, a bevy of union representatives and lobbyists, and even a strong showing of Republicans. All House members were given complimentary tickets to the $200-a-ticket event, which featured a generous spread of eats and a pair of bars. During most of the two- hour event, Fox, a Providence Democrat, greeted folks as they arrived and left. Receipts are still being tallied and checks are still arriving, so there is no full accounting of how much the event raised, according to House spokesman Larry Berman. Among those attending were Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. Governor Chafee did not attend but sent his top aides: chief of staff Patrick Rogers and Director of Administration Richard Licht. Providence, unsurprisingly, had a strong showing. Mayor Angel Taveras, who was in D.C. attending President Obama s State of the Union, sent a few of his top aides -- John J.R. Pagliarini, Matthew Jerzyk and Jeffrey Padwa. (Padwa, as an aside, says he ll retain his post as treasurer of the state Democratic Party even as he prepares to take a post as incoming city solicitor). New Providence City Council President Michael Solomon and lobbyist and city Board of Licenses Chairman Andrew Annaldo also attended, as did union representatives from the city Laborers and firefighters unions. House Republicans were out in force. House Minority Leader Robert Watson said he has attended the speaker s fundraisers for years as a courtesy and that the speaker typically returns the favor. But unlike many of the lobbyists and other guests, Watson said, Republicans did not come with checks in hand. Put it this way: he s our speaker. And while I recognize this is a fundraiser for Democrat politics, I also recognize that we are in a small state and everybody knows everybody. I have no problems attending this event, which is not to say that I don t go from here and tomorrow fight tooth and nail. Finally, attendees noted that prominent State House lobbyist Robert D. Goldberg was mingling in the crowd, balancing himself on a pair of crutches and receiving well wishes. Goldberg was involved in a car accident in North Kingstown in October. A former Republican minority leader, Goldberg represented South Kingstown as a state senator from 1983 to 1990. He has since emerged as an influential lobbyist, representing such diverse interests as Twin River, CVS Caremark, Deepwater Wind and the Foxy Lady. He is also the husband of state Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg. During Tuesday night s fundraiser, Goldberg reported that he s back to working full days again and has even been roaming the State House halls recently. I started at about 7 a.m. this morning, he said as he flipped through about a dozen or so of the lobbyist registration identifications he carries when the legislature is in session. The Times-Union (Albany, NY) January 31, 2011 Monday Final Edition EDITION WALKS, TALKS, LOBBIES? Mount Sinai-Queens Hospital is one of several health care institutions paying one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's best friends, Jeffrey Sachs. He was an early selection by Cuomo to the governor's Medicaid commission, which is supposed to find cuts to the state's giant public health insurance program. Last month, when Sachs was already seen as a big shot by state officials because of his closeness to the incoming governor, his designation as an adviser for the state health budget, and his inclusion on a panel that interviewed potential employees of the Department of Health, Mount Sinai-Queens was the beneficiary of an "emergency" regulatory change from DOH. The amendment will give the hospital greater Medicaid reimbursements. The change -- temporary for 90 days pending permanent status -- will cost the state an additional $2.6 million for the remainder of this fiscal year and $7.9 million for a full year, according to the Dec. 22 New York State Register. Mount Sinai's spokesman said it had been seeking the rate change from the Health Department since Gov. George Pataki's tenure. Why DOH decided it was an emergency for the change to occur in the waning days of Gov. David Paterson's term is unclear. The hospital said to ask DOH; the department won't say. After officials in Cuomo's office, the DOH and Mount Sinai were asked whether Sachs made it happen, the reporter who inquired was contacted by Sachs' ethics counsel, Mark Glaser, once a senior lawyer for the Assembly, and public affairs representative, Ken Sunshine, for a conference call. Sunshine emphasized that Sachs does not speak with state officials on behalf of his many hospital clients, for whom he serves as a consultant. At that point, Glaser asked that Sunshine discontinue the call for a private talk. Minutes later, Sunshine corrected: "I'm not saying Jeffrey Sachs does not have contact with state officials on behalf of clients." He and Glaser said that Sachs scrupulously avoids crossing the line into lobbying. And they said he had nothing to do with the regulation change and had not contacted state officials about it, recommended or advocated for it. Instead, Sunshine said, Sachs had a discussion with a state official regarding Mount Sinai. "The discussion was that existing law and existing regulations permitted a different reimbursement rate," Sunshine said. The state defines lobbying to include working for the adoption or rejection of any rule or regulation of a state agency, or for the outcome of any rate making proceeding by a state agency. Whether Sachs' actions constitute lobbying may hinge on whether or not Mount Sinai pays him at least $5,000, the threshold for registering as a lobbyist when lobbying, said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York State Public Interest Research Group. He said it "sounds" as if Sachs lobbies, but he should register just as a precaution. That could allow the public to know who his clients are if he's talking about them with state officials. Horner said the hospital, which has a full-time lobbyist, also should report. Cuomo's office said the regulation change is under review and the federal government must sign off for it to take effect. Sachs was deputy secretary for health under Gov. Mario Cuomo and has donated to the younger Cuomo's campaigns with $32,547 to his attorney general contest and $33,338 to his gubernatorial race. The Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico) January 28, 2011 Friday LEADERS SOFTEN ON CAMPAIGN CASH BILL A Santa Fe-based think tank will try once again to convince the New Mexico Legislature to ban campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors. However, the bill apparently will have to be introduced without the powerful sponsors originally expected to carry it. Before the session began, Think New Mexico announced that Senate President Pro- tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, and Republican Senate leader Stuart Ingle of Portales would co-sponsor the bill. But on Friday both Jennings and Ingle seemed less than enthusiastic about the proposal. Contributions from lobbyists and contractors make up only about 3 percent of his total campaign contributions, Jennings said. "Why are we so concerned about that?" he asked rhetorically. Another part of the proposed bill -- requiring nonprofit groups that engage in political activity during an election year to disclose their contributors -- is seen as a bone to conservatives, who since the 2008 primary have railed against the Center for Civic Policy and affiliated Albuquerque-based groups for sending out full-color mailers spotlighting targeted legislators' voting records. But Ingle said Friday that while he likes that part of the bill, he's afraid it could be overturned in court. In a lawsuit filed against the Center for Civic Policy in 2008, a federal judge upheld the nonprofit group's right not to disclose its contributors. Asked about the possible loss of Jennings and Ingle, Think New Mexico's executive director, Fred Nathan, said, "This is not unusual in the legislative process and I remain optimistic that this bill will reach the Senate floor and will have the support of Senators Ingle and Jennings, whether or not they choose to sign on as sponsors." The policy group has been successful in past years pushing bills to repeal the gross- receipts tax on food, establishing full-day kindergarten for every child in the state, reforming title insurance and requiring the state lottery to pay less administrative costs in order to pay for more scholarships at state colleges and universities. Last year's version of the bill made it through the House, passing 46-24 on a near party-line vote, with most Democrats supporting it and most Republicans against it. But it passed too late in the Senate to be heard in any committee. In late 2009, Think New Mexico unveiled the proposed legislation in a report that said many of the scandals that have rocked state government in recent years have centered around those seeking contracts with the state. Among those controversies involving contractors and campaign contributions were corruption cases that led to prison time for two state treasurers, and pay-to-play allegations involving a California firm that made about $1.5 million for handling state transportation bonds about the same time it donated $110,000 to then-Gov. Bill Richardson's political action committees. The latter case led to Richardson withdrawing his nomination for President Obama's Cabinet. "Because of the high stakes, there is a temptation of individuals and businesses seeking government contracts to make political contributions to the elected officials who will decide whether to award them the contract," the report said. "Meanwhile, for elected officials running increasingly expensive campaigns, there is a similar temptation to accept those contributions."
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