UPDATE ON AN ITEM FROM YESTERDAY: The Pulaski County clerk found no lobbying registration forms on file for several of the people who’ve been working to organize opposition to the land use ordinance for the Lake Maumelle watershed that is pending before the Quorum Court.
I have calls or e-mails out to three of the people who’ve been involved, including Brent Stevenson, who’s registered with the state as a lobbyist for both Deltic Timber, the major property owner in the watershed, and Koch Industries, whose owners are a source of financial support for Americans for Prosperity, another political group that has been working against land-use rules in the watershed. AFP’s leader in Arkansas, Teresa Oelke, also a state-registered lobbyist, has been among those involved in the land use fight. Oelke, who lives in Rogers, also has no form in file in her home county of Benton.
Are they lobbyists for purposes of this issue as defined by law? Should they be required to register with the county since they oppose a rule considered earlier by a county planning board and soon by the Quorum Court? Until I hear more from them, I can’t say. But I’ll provide a couple of the pertinent rules on the jump, from the state Ethics Commission.
UPDATE: The anti-land-use crowd apparently has a compromise in the works that it hope might peel off some sponsors from the pending ordinance, currently signed by a majority of the Quorum Court. A last-minute substitution acceptable to the AFP/Deltic/Tea Party crowd? Land use for a giant watershed dictated by a tiny handful of land owners? Would not be good.
UPDATE II: After the lobbying rules, find a letter from County Judge Buddy Villines in support of the ordinance. He responded to the petition drive seeking stronger land use protection that the ordinance currently provides.
UPDATE III: Fancy that. Deltic/Koch mouthpiece Brent Stevenson didn’t call me back today, but he did find time to drop by the secretary of state’s office and update his lobbyist registration form. He’s added Mark and Lori White of Bigelow and the Pulaski County Property Owners Coalition of Bigelow, both part of the anti-zoning movement. I’m sure that update was coincidental to my item this morning. No action or return call from the AFP lobby contingent.
UPDATE IV: I’ve now heard as well from the Koch front group, Americans for Prosperity, who contends that local lobby registration hasn’t been required to date, but is planned. I’d quibble with the interpretation (I think her status as a paid, active lobbyist on a local issue is well-established and has already triggered a reporting requirement), but they are acknowledging the activity and plan to register, so that’s a step in the transparent direction.