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Kyl claims $129k salary from ASU for teaching, but what he taught is a mystery

By: - January 4, 2019 4:40 pm

U.S. Senator Jon Kyl speaking at an event in March 2017. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Yesterday morning, Martha McSally was sworn in to replace Jon Kyl as Arizona’s U.S. Senator, after Kyl’s brief stint in the Senate that saw him replace his former seatmate, the late John McCain. Last night, Kyl filed his long-awaited financial disclosure statement showing how much he made as a lobbyist at a prominent D.C. law firm.

The disclosure, which was first reported today by the Arizona’s Politics blog, lifts the veil on Kyl’s pay in 2017 and 2018, and shows that he earns $930,000 annually for his lobbying work at Covington & Burling.

But it was always widely believed that Kyl, who was the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. Senate when he retired, would make gobs of money as a lobbyist. And some suggested that his return to the Senate would bolster his return to the lobbying world and allow him and his firm to make even more money.

What was more interesting to me was the other sources of income that Kyl disclosed: nearly $129,000 from Arizona State University, and at least $5,000 from both Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project, the state’s two largest electric utilities. (The amount of the APS and SRP income is unknown because he wasn’t employed by them, but Covington & Burling was hired by both entities to “provided legal services and advice.” He listed them in a section for “compensation of more than $5,000 from a single source” during the prior two years.)

The ASU payment is particularly interesting, given the wailing and gnashing of teeth by Republicans just a few short months ago over Democratic gubernatorial nominee David Garcia’s work as an ASU professor, for which he was paid $82,000 to teach three classes.

Kyl was paid roughly $64,000 a year, but it’s not immediately clear what for.

On the disclosure form, Kyl notes that he “taught both undergraduate and law school classes,” a description that jibes with what ASU said he would do when it announced in March 2013 that he had been hired as a Distinguished Fellow in Public Service in ASU’s College of Public Programs and as the O’Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU.

However, my search for any classes taught at ASU by Jon Kyl through the university’s online catalog of classes since 2015 turned up nothing. Nothing, as in, there were no undergraduate or law school classes with Jon Kyl as the professor.


I sent ASU a list of questions about what work Kyl has performed for the university since his hire in 2015, but haven’t heard back yet.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.