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The Intercept questions Kyl’s lobbying ties

By: - December 10, 2018 2:58 pm

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

Jon Kyl’s brief return to the U.S. Senate will likely pay dividends when he returns to his old lobbying practice, where he represented clients whose interests he’s promoted since Gov. Doug Ducey appointed him to fill John McCain’s seat, The Intercept reported on Monday.

David Dayen of The Intercept reported that Kyl, who joined the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Covington & Burling after leaving the Senate in 2013, can “re-familiarize [himself] with new colleagues and show potential clients in the corporate world his established clout” with his stint in the Senate. Only 60 of the senators Kyl served with are still members of the body, and five more are leaving at the end of the year.

Though Senate ethics rules prevent Kyl from lobbying members of Congress for two years after he leaves office, there are permissible activities he can engage in that are known as “shadow lobbying.” Among the de facto lobbying activities he’ll still be able to engage in are advising and counseling corporate clients, and using his contacts to guide congressional lobbying efforts. He’ll be able to socialize with members of Congress and raise money for them. He’ll maintain access to the Senate floor as a former member. And he’ll still be able to contact members of the executive branch.

“Few have paid much attention to Kyl, who is wrapping up one of the strangest and — to his critics — one of the most corrupt tenures in the modern history of the Senate,” Dayen wrote. “His entire term of office seems like a calculated attempt to refresh his contacts and gain clout from the inside, only to spin back out to influence the institution.”

Kyl hasn’t committed to holding the Senate seat until 2020, when there will be a special election for its final two years, and he’s expected to step down in the coming weeks.

In at least a couple instances, Kyl has worked to advance the interests of his lobbying clients, The Intercept reported. The Intercept said he’s made only two floor speeches — he’s actually made three, according to Kyl’s website — one of which focused on a report by the National Defense Strategy Commission, on which Kyl serves, that advocated increased defense spending. Kly’s client list at Covington & Burling included defense contractors Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. And in November, Kyl co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for new federal spending on low-yield nuclear warheads.

The Intercept questioned whether Kyl has lived in Arizona, a requirement for a senator representing the state, since joining Covington & Burling. Dayen wrote that Kyl appears to have only returned to the state once since his appointment in September, and that there’s no record of Kyl having a residence in the state. However, local media coverage shows that Kyl has had public events or meetings in Flagstaff, Mesa, Tucson and Yuma since taking office.

And according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, Kyl has been continuously registered to vote in Arizona since at least 1987. Records show that the Kyl Family Revocable Trust owns the east Phoenix property that is listed as his address on voter registration forms for the years 1987-2012. (Since 2014, he’s used a unit at a neighboring address.) Kyl voted in the primary and general elections in Arizona, and has voted from that address in every election since he left office.

A spokesman for Ducey did not respond to messages seeking comment on the article.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”