Five former legislators who left office last year are now lobbying their former colleagues.
In February, Oklahoma Watch reported that three lawmakers – Reps. Pat Ownbey, Josh Cockroft and Bobby Cleveland, who are all Republicans who served in last year’s legislative class – registered as lobbyists within weeks or a few months of finishing their terms in mid-November.
Since then, two other former lawmakers have taken jobs as lobbyists. Former Democratic Senator Randy Bass, who was term-limited from running for another term, is now representing Flintco, a commercial construction company. And Katie Henke, a three-term House member who chose not to seek a fourth term, is now lobbying on behalf of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
The moves come as the Oklahoma Ethics Commission has attempted to crack down on the lobbying revolving door at the Capitol by passing rules each of the past two years that would require a two-year “cooling-off period” before former lawmakers can register as lobbyists. The Legislature overruled the Ethics Commission last year by rejecting that proposal. Lawmakers have yet to vote this session on whether to accept or deny the Ethics Commission rule once again.