October 13, 2010 •
New Hampshire Lobbyist Registration Requirement Draws Criticism
A 2006 New Hampshire ethics reform law requiring any non-public official who meets with a lawmaker to discuss legislation to register as a lobbyist has recently come under fire. The law currently exempts lawyers who are full-time employees of a public body from the registration requirement. Opponents of the law argue small towns and school districts that cannot afford a full-time attorney are put at a disadvantage to larger governmental organizations in efforts to influence legislation.
Citing the law, New Hampshire Rep. Rick Watrous recently asked the attorney general’s office to investigate the actions of attorney John Teague. Teague serves as the Concord School District’s lawyer, but is not a full-time school district employee. Teague participated in a meeting with Senate President Sylvia Larsen, Sen. Betsi DeVries, and the Superintendent of the Concord School District to discuss a House bill dealing with the school district’s charter. The attorney general’s office found that Teague ran afoul of the law by meeting with lawmakers privately and issued a public warning and ordered Teague to register retroactively as a lobbyist and pay the $50 annual filing fee. The finding has raised concerns about the propriety and application of the current registration requirement, including calls for legislative reform of the statute.
Photo of New Hampshire State Capitol Building by Nikopoley on Wikipedia.
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