Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana has been reporting for awhile that Council President and Barnes & Thornburg Attorney Ryan Vaughn was a registered lobbyist for ACS. I looked it up and found out that Welsh was exactly correct and reported about it on my blog last Thursday, pointing out the specific record of the Department of Administration showing Vaughn lobbying the administration on behalf of ACS, including which agencies.
Vaughn now has told Nuvo's Austin Considine that the records of the Department of Administration showing him lobbying on behalf of ACS were wrong and he'd have them changed. According to the Nuvo article:
Vaughn told NUVO this was an error, and that his office would correct it as soon as possible. By the time this article was published, ACS had been removed from his client list.Really? So Vaughn's law firm can pick up the phone and have the official government lobbying records of the executive branch altered so his conflict of interest is erased? Yep, that's exactly what happened.
Now that the Governor finally seems attuned to ethics issues in his administration, maybe it would be a good time to launch an investigation into the Department of Administration's altering government lobbying records for Barnes & Thornburg. Who at B&T made the call about changing the records? How did Vaughn "inaccurately" get listed as a lobbyist for ACS in the first place? What evidence was provided that the lobbying records were wrong? Who at the DOA agreed to alter the records? How high up did the decision go? It appears that someone at the DOA needs to be fired.
UPDATE: This is apparently the second time that DOA officials changed Ryan Vaughn's lobbying record when faced with negative publicity. Back in May of 2010, during the time when the FBI was asking for Venture-Brizzi records, Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana reported that Ryan Vaughn's Venture DOA lobbying record had been removed. The DOA later apparently claimed to Legislative Insight's Ed Feigenbaum that the the record disappeared while doing an upgrade...which is interesting since the glitch seemed to only affect Vaughn's Venture lobbying record. Later the record was restored.
Governor Daniels should be demanding an investigation of the DOA's manipulation of lobbying records to benefit Vaughn. If the Governor's Office doesn't take action, the FBI should also be called in to investigate.
SECOND UPDATE: As noted in a comment below, it was pointed out to me that lobbyists can self-register on the DOA website to lobby the state executive agencies on behalf for particular clients, as well as later change those registrations, including apparently delete them.. Okay, the first part I get. I can imagine a lobbyist wanting to talk to the head of a department and registering before the visit. The department head can also, before the meeting, get on-line and check to ensure the person is registered to lobby for that client. Full disclosure. My problem is allowing a lobbyist, without any oversight from the DOA, to change the lobbying registration after the fact, erasing the full disclosure that took place.