House Democrats have drafted legislation to ban legislators from being paid as legislative lobbyists for a year after they leave the Legislature, and House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said the bill will be considered next week in the House Ways & Means Committee. “We have talked with the speaker,” Jaquet said. “There will be Ways & Means next week. … This will be placed on the agenda.”
Violations of the proposed new law would be a misdemeanor.
Denney was in meetings and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. “He thought it was a good idea,” Jaquet said.
The Democrats were responding to revelations this week in an Associated Press article that Denney advised the developer for a new Cabela’s store in North Idaho to hire former House GOP Caucus Chair Julie Ellsworth of Boise as their lobbyist to get their STAR financing bill through the Legislature, and fire their previous lobbyist – who had backed Denney’s opponent in his bid for House speaker. They did, and the bill passed with Denney and the House majority leader as co-sponsors – though last year it died in committee. Ellsworth was defeated in the November election by Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise.
Jaquet said she didn’t think Ellsworth did anything wrong. “I think she was totally within the law. All we’re saying is that the law should be modified in the future,” Jaquet said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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