Attorney Gary Allen, of the prominent Boise law firm Givens Pursley, advised the Idaho Secretary of State’s office today that the clients he’s been representing in drafting and advocating for the anti-trespassing bill, HB 658a, are Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, and Sen. Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs. The office had contacted Allen to ask why he hadn’t registered as a lobbyist. Here is Allen’s letter to Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst, provided under the Idaho Public Records Law:
Thanks for your inquiry. In early January, 2018, I was approached by Senator Mark Harris and Representative Judy Boyle, as well as lobbyists for members of what later became the Idaho Property Rights Coalition (the "Coalition"), about representing Senator Harris and Rep. Boyle as an attorney in providing legal and technical support to the bill sponsors and the Coalition in support of HB536 and the successor bill, HB658. My understanding was, and is, that each of the more than 30 members of the Coalition is represented by a registered lobbyist, and that lobbying services were not required of me. I do not have a lobbying practice.
My services have consisted of advising the bill sponsors and the Coalition about existing trespass law, drafting the bills, and responding to questions from affected constituencies and legislators about the impact of the legislation. I have also spoken at three public hearings on the bill, which activity is expressly exempt from lobbying registration. When I have participated in meetings with legislators, apart from meetings with the bill sponsors, my clients, I have in all cases been accompanied by a registered lobbyist from one of the members of the Coalition and in all cases I recall I was accompanied by a client.
The statute offers little if any guidance about lobbying registration in the circumstance of an attorney representing legislators to provide legal and technical assistance on legislation. My understanding and intent has been in all activities to act as an attorney and not a lobbyist. If this is mistaken, I would be happy to register as a lobbyist for the Coalition immediately. If I do need to register, I would appreciate it if you would provide the authority for that position.
Thank you and I look forward to your response.
GARY G. ALLEN
GIVENS PURSLEY LLP
Allen also filed a lobbyist registration form today registering as a lobbyist for the Idaho Property Rights Coalition.