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Eye On Boise

Two Idaho counties hire Craig’s new firm to lobby for prison

Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s new consulting firm, New West Strategies, has been hired by Cassia and Minidoka counties to help Cassia County land a $300 million federal prison. The Twin Falls Times-News reports that both counties’ commissioners agreed Monday to pay Craig’s firm a monthly fee of $5,000 plus a $500 monthly travel budget. The city of Burley also plans to chip in for the contract. Craig, who retired from the Senate amid scandal after he was cited in a Minneapolis airport men’s room sex sting, formed the consulting firm this year with partner Michael Ware, his former chief of staff.

Craig initially said his firm likely would focus on energy issues, but its website says, “We provide strategic advice, guidance, and advocacy to companies, trade associations, and other clients on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues.” Though Craig, as a former senator, is banned from lobbying for two years after leaving office, his associates can lobby. His firm’s website, which repeatedly refers to Craig as “Senator Larry E. Craig,” touts his service in the Senate and House, his committee assignments, and his “reputation as a stalwart against environmental extremism.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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