One more thing about the plan for the University of Arkansas to pluck Sen. Johnny Key from the higher education budget subcommittee and other good service to universities and make him a $200,000-a-year lobbyist. He says he won’t have to register as a lobbyist because 1) he’ll be under the public servant lobbying exception and 2) he won’t spend the $400 in a quarter at which lobbyist registration is required. Hmmm.
Here’s what Key told the Democrat-Gazette yesterday:
If he’s hired by UA, Key said he wouldn’t spend more than $400 on lobbying in a quarter, so he wouldn’t be required under state law to register as a lobbyist and, thus, he wouldn’t run the risk of violating Act 48 of 2011 requiring a one-year cooling-off period between the end of a lawmaker’s term and when he can register as a lobbyist.
Here’s what the law says:
Definition of lobbyist.
(a) For purposes of these rules, persons engaged in lobbying activity as defined by § 500(j) will be considered lobbyists, subject to registration and reporting, if the person:
(1) receives income or reimbursement in a combined amount of $400 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying activities;
There will be income. There will be reimbursements, of course. Oh, but you say Key would qualify under the public servant exception for registration. True. But there exceptions to the exception for a public servant whot
(A) receives income from a non-governmental person over $400 in a quarter for lobbying; or
(B) expends or is reimbursed over $400 in a quarter, regardless of
the source, for lobbying, excluding the cost of informational material and personal travel, lodging, meals, and dues;
Some tricky navigation there. Is business travel for the UA personal travel? Is money spent from the UA Fpundation to liquor up legislators government money? Key will have income and expenses, that much is clear. Do he and the UA merely view these as merely minor impediments to loopholes? Like having no need for UA officials to tell legislative auditors about financial shortages in the Advancement Division? History probably provides the answer. (I know. Nobody cares.)