DMN has this story, Lobby’s revision would aid client. It’s about former Republican representative, turned lobbyist, Arlene Wohlgemuth and current Republican representative and Appropriations chair Warren Chisum (R – Pampa), slipping “..a provision in the budget last month that would all but guarantee a state contract for a company run by a former state official.”
The lawmaker, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Warren Chisum, acted at the request of a former House colleague who is now a lobbyist for the company.
Former Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth brought him the proposal, and she acknowledged that it would probably steer a technology contract to GHT Development, owned by former Deputy Health and Human Services Commissioner Gregg Phillips.
“I was trying to advantage my client,” said Ms. Wohlgemuth, a Burleson Republican who wielded vast influence on social services policy in the 2003 Legislature and is now a health-care lobbyist.
According to a recent lobbyist-disclosure filing at the Texas Ethics Commission, GHT Development is paying Ms. Wohlgemuth between $10,000 and $25,000 this session. That’s a relatively small fee for a GOP insider such as Ms. Wohlgemuth, who gave up her seat to make an unsuccessful run for Congress three years ago.
The contact between Mr. Chisum, R-Pampa, and Ms. Wohlgemuth broke no lobbying rules or state laws. But it shows the tremendous influence lobbyists can wield, particularly those who are former lawmakers. And it illustrates the extent to which policymakers rely on the lobby for ideas.
That’s not illegal? It should be. This is a text book case, highlighting one of the major problems with our political system, former elected officials lobbying their buddies after leaving elected office. Rep. Chisum says it was just a mix-up.
The mix-up on deleting vendor preferences from Mr. Chisum’s amendment occurred late at night as dozens of seemingly innocuous amendments were approved hastily by voice votes, he and Mr. Gattis said. They had agreed on a revised version, but the original amendment was inadvertently adopted.
“A lot of paper was flying out there,” said Mr. Chisum, who vowed a fix during budget talks with the Senate.
Needless to say if the Appropriations chair can’t keep track of a bunch of paper “flying out there” late at night, maybe he needs to postpone business until the next day of leave it to someone who can.