Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Crapo’s Daughter Lobbies Health Issues

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Sen. Mike Crapo has supported requests for federal earmarks from some health care facilities that have hired the lobbying firm that employs Crapo’s daughter.

Sen. Mike Crapo’s daughter represents numerous health-care-related interests, including several medical facilities in their home state that the Idaho Republican has sought earmarks for in recent years, according to federal lobbying disclosure records.

But Paul Lee, a former Senate aide and founder of the firm Strategic Health Care, where Lara Crapo serves as government relations director, said the office maintains a strict separation between Crapo and her father’s office.

“We’ve had it in place from the very beginning,” said Lee, who founded the firm in 1994 and was an aide to  former Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.). “She has never taken a client on any kind of official business to the Crapo office, period.”

Lee said Lara Crapo, in accordance with Senate rules, is prohibited from “having any communication with the Crapo office, anything related to any client anywhere, not just in Idaho.”

A Crapo spokesman said Friday he was not aware Lara Crapo lobbied on behalf of either Bingham Memorial Hospital or Gritman Medical Center, two of the facilities that got earmarks.

According to the Senate’s Code of Official Conduct, if a Senator’s spouse or other immediate family member is a registered lobbyist, or employed by a registered lobbyist, the lawmaker and his aides are prohibited from any interaction “with the Member’s spouse or immediate family member that constitutes a lobbying contact.”

Those guidelines resulted from ethics reforms, including increased disclosure and stringent gift rules, enacted in 2007. Lara Crapo is one of the Senator’s five children.

Lara Crapo did not return a telephone message or e-mail last week, but Lee said Friday that another lobbyist, former Senate aide Doyce Boesch, handles “90 percent” of the firm’s interactions with Crapo’s Senate office.

“I err on the side of caution when it comes to registration,” Lee said. He added that Lara Crapo does have periodic contact with Idaho’s House delegation, including accompanying the firm’s clients to Capitol Hill or submitting forms.

“She doesn’t independently go to any office, for that matter, on the Hill to lobby on behalf of client interests,” Lee said. “Most of her responsibilities are internal to our organization.”

According to Crapo’s bio on the firm’s website: “her responsibilities include assisting with all aspects of congressional relations as well as shepherding clients through the congressional funding processes.” Lara Crapo is also a principal in the group’s sister firm, Strategic Government Initiatives Group.

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