Kelley Linck

Kelley Linck, whose departure as chief lobbyist for the Department of Human Services was announced yesterday, is indeed heading to the private lobbying world.

He’ll be joining a firm led by another former legislator, as Linck is, Mullenix & Associates.

Their news release:

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Mullenix & Associates LLC today announced Kelley Linck will join the firm in mid-October. With this addition, the firm will have seven members, including two former legislators and three attorneys, and a combined 65 years of experience with state legislative, policy and regulatory issues.

 

 “For decades, Mullenix & Associates has expanded to successfully meet our clients’ needs,” said co-founder Ted Mullenix. “With his experience and unique perspective, Kelley will complement our firm’s existing strengths.

 

 Since 2016, Linck has served as chief of staff and chief of legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2011-2016, where he chaired the Public Health, Labor and Welfare Committee and Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council. Prior to his legislative service, he worked in the state’s tourism industry. An Arkansas native, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University.

 

 Mullenix & Associates’ current principals include Ted Mullenix, Julie Mullenix and Austin Grinder. Ted Mullenix served 16 years in the Arkansas State Legislature, including four terms as House Minority Leader. Licensed attorneys, Julie and Austin represent clients with legislative and regulatory issues. All three provide government relations consulting and lobby the legislature.

 

 About Mullenix & Associates LLC

Founded in 1999 by Ted and Julie Mullenix, Mullenix & Associates LLC is consistently named one of the most effective government affairs firms in Arkansas. Of the firm’s extensive client list, nearly one-third have retained the firm for at least 15 years. For more information, visit lobbyarkansas.com

The news release doesn’t specify whether Linck will focus on particular areas of the Mullenix firm’s work. He had said yesterday that he’d worked with DHS and firm officials to be sure there’d be no conflict in his new role and his past work for DHS. The law prohibits state officials for a year from acting in private jobs on contracts on which they’d worked as public employee.  Here’s a summary from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A former state official or employee shall not knowingly act as a principal or agent for anyone other than the state if he or she participated while serving in that capacity and the state is a party or has a direct or substantial interest: (1) A judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling, or other determination; (2) A contract; (3) A claim; or (4) A charge or controversy. Prohibition extends for 1 year after employment or service. Ark. Code Ann. § 21-8-102.

Legislators also face a two-year cooling-off period before becoming lobbyists, but Linck is no longer a legislator.

The secretary of state website no longer functions well on finding lobbyist clients (at least for me), but a 2017 compilation included this list of Mullenix clients, several with obvious interests in DHS-related issues.

Altria Client Services LLC and its Affiliates
ANC Foundation
AR Blue Cross Blue Shield
AR Judicial Council Inc
AR Realtors Association
Arkansas Health Care Association
Arkansas Self-Insurers Association
Big River Steel
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Delta Cultivators LLC
Express Scripts, Inc.
Insurance Auto Auctions
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
McDonalds Corporation
MCNA Health Care Holdings LLC
Mullenix & Associates, LLC
Novartis Services, Inc.
Oaklawn Jockey Club
Plains Pipeline, L.P.
Rave Mobile Safety
Rural AR Telephone Systems
SAP Public Services, Inc.
Sun Paper
Superior Senior Care
Title Source
Wilson & Associates PLLC
Zekelman Industries

UPDATE: Radical centrist helps me with a link to current client list.

DHS also has provided the full relevant law on work by former employees. It is unclear to me if it would prevent a former DHS employee from lobbying for someone hoping to do business with DHS.

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19-11-709. Restrictions on employment of present and former employees — Definition.

(a) Contemporaneous Employment Prohibited.  It shall be a breach of ethical standards for any employee who is involved in procurement to become or be, while such an employee, the employee of any party contracting with the state agency by which the employee is employed.

(b) Restrictions on Former Employees in Matters Connected with Their Former Duties.  (1) Permanent Disqualification of Former Employee Personally Involved in a Particular Matter.  It shall be a breach of ethical standards for any former employee knowingly to act as a principal or as an agent for anyone other than the state in connection with any:

(A)  Judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling, or other determination;

(B)  Contract;

(C)  Claim; or

(D)  Charge or controversy,

   in which the employee participated personally and substantially through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise while an employee, where the state is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.

(2) One-Year Representation Restriction Regarding Matters for Which a Former Employee Was Officially Responsible.   It shall be a breach of ethical standards for any former employee, within one (1) year after cessation of the former employee’s official responsibility in connection with any:

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(A)  Judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling, or other determination;

(B)  Contract;

(C)  Claim; or

(D)  Charge or controversy,

   knowingly to act as a principal or as an agent for anyone other than the state in matters which were within the former employee’s official responsibility, where the state is a party or has a direct or substantial interest.

(c) Disqualification of Partners.  (1) When Partner Is a State Employee.  It shall be a breach of ethical standards for a person who is a partner of an employee knowingly to act as a principal or as an agent for anyone other than the state in connection with any:

(A)  Judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling, or other determination;

(B)  Contract;

(C)  Claim; or

(D)  Charge or controversy,

   in which the employee either participates personally and substantially through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, or which is the subject of the employee’s official responsibility, where the state is a party or has a direct and substantial interest.

(2) When a Partner Is a Former State Employee.   It shall be a breach of ethical standards for a partner of a former employee knowingly to act as a principal or as an agent for anyone other than the state where such former employee is barred under subsection (b) of this section.

(d) Selling to State After Termination of Employment Is Prohibited. 

(1)  It is a breach of ethical standards for a former employee, unless the former employee’s last annual salary based on the state fiscal year did not exceed fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), to engage in selling or attempting to sell commodities or services, including technical or professional consultant services, to the state for one (1) year following the date employment ceased.

(2)  As used in this subsection, “sell” means:

(A)  Signing a bid, proposal, or contract;

(B)  Negotiating a contract;

(C)  Contacting any employee for the purpose of obtaining, negotiating, or discussing changes in specifications, price, cost allowances, or other terms of a contract;

(D)  Settling disputes concerning performance of a contract; or

(E)  Any other liaison activity with a view toward the ultimate consummation of a sale although the actual contract for the sale is subsequently negotiated by another person.

(e) 

(1)  This section is not intended to preclude a former employee from accepting employment with private industry solely because his or her employer is a contractor with this state.

(2)  This section is not intended to preclude an employee, a former employee, or a partner of an employee or former employee from filing an action as a taxpayer for alleged violations of this subchapter.

A FURTHER UPDATE: In response to my question of whether this law put any meaningful restriction on Linck, Amy Webb of DHS provided this letter from DHS counsel David Sterling to Linck outlining the agency’s understanding of what Linck can do relative to DHS in his new private lobbying job.