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Eye On Boise

‘I have not lobbied, I do not lobby, and Mr. Secretary, I have no intention’

Phil Reberger, former chief of staff to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, has sent a letter back to Secretary of State Ben Ysursa responding to an investigation into whether Reberger lobbyied without registering with the state as required. In his letter, dated today, Reberger admits he attended a dinner meeting with Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, and with two representatives of Reberger’s client Unisys Corp., Dan Carter and Brian Ridderbush, along with two of Reberger’s partners at the Sullivan & Reberger lobbying firm, Pat Sullivan and Andrea Mihm. Both Sullivan and Mihm are registered lobbyists. Idaho law doesn’t require registration for those who lobby only executive branch agencies – an omission that apparently has covered Reberger’s consulting work for other clients such as Washington Group International, which won a disputed $50 million Idaho Transportation Department contract.

“I did not lobby, I exchanged usual pleasantries with Senator Cameron and listened to Dan Carter respond to Senator Cameron’s questions and provide information about the contract Unisys was awarded through the State of Idaho procurement process,” Reberger wrote. “I did not participate, in any manner, in what was a useful exchange of information about the provisions and effect of the contract – no legislative request or action was discussed by Unisys or Sullivan & Reberger.”

Unisys recently won a Medicaid contract that’s worth as much as $50 million in coming years – the competing bidder, the firm that has held the contract for the past 27 years, is challenging the contract award in court. Cameron has publicly expressed concerns about the decision. As co-chairman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, he’s addressed the issue as part of the committee’s examination of the Health & Welfare Department’s budget. The budget decisions are pending.

Reberger wrote in his letter, “I have not lobbied, I do not lobby and, Mr. Secretary, I have no intention of lobbying.”

However, attached to his letter, he included a completed lobbyist registration form to represent Unisys Corp. in the Legislature on issues involving state revenue, budget, bids, fees, funds and more.

He wrote, “Despite these facts and to the contrary, a perception – in this politically charged environment – has been portrayed in the media that I lobbied without registering. To mitigate that inaccurate perception, a registration form and fee accompany this letter pro forma.”

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.