While attention may be focused on lobbyists who work to persuade state legislators, there is another breed of lobbyists dedicated to influencing state attorneys general–and sometimes they don’t even have to register with the states they lobby in.
That’s according to an article appearing in the on-line weekly Stateline.org, which includes an appearance by Colorado’s own Attorney General John Suthers. From the article:
At a panel discussion last month in Washington, D.C., Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) said lobbying of state law enforcers has become increasingly common since 45 attorneys general in 1998 forced tobacco firms into a record $246 billion settlement over smokers’ health claims.
“A cottage industry has sprung up. There are now hundreds of people making a very good living lobbying attorneys general,” Suthers said at the forum, where he was joined by Stenberg and the Republican attorneys general of Wisconsin and Virginia. “When the 50 state attorneys general get together to discuss issues, there are often 100 or more lobbyists in the back of the room looking for an opportunity to further their cause.”
In Colorado, lobbyists who receive compensation are required to register with the Secretary of State’s office, and lobbying is defined as “communicating directly, or soliciting others to communicate, with a covered official for the purpose of aiding in or influencing” government.
A covered official is defined as “the governor, the lieutenant governor, or a member of the general assembly,” or “member of a rule-making board or commission or a rule-making official of a state agency which has jurisdiction over the subject matter of a rule, standard, or rate.”
Like other “rule-making” state officials, Suthers is required to file a disclosure report of gifts and perks received by lobbyists and organizations each quarter–with one of the most notable being a $4,000 trip to Saudi Arabia last year paid for by U.S. State Department, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Center for the New American Century, a conservative organization based in Colorado.