The chair of the Indiana House Education Committee has started an education lobbying business. Presumably, he will be paid to lobby himself and his colleagues. This is remarkable, to say the least.

 

A veteran lawmaker who oversees education in the Indiana House of Representatives has formed a lobbying company to represent education clients, raising potential ethical questions at a time when state lawmakers are considering sweeping new ethics rules.

 

House Education Chairman Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, formed Berkshire Education Strategies last June, and has continued leading the House education committee since then. Behning said Wednesday that he is looking to represent student testing company Questar in Oklahoma and would like to sign up more clients. But he added that he was doing everything possible to ensure he only represents clients out of state, and not in Indiana.

 

“We’re trying to put together a contract that’s very clear nothing would be done in Indiana, even in the potential (ethics) changes, I don’t think I would fall under any,” Behning said. “It’s a citizen legislature and you’re going to have conflicts, regardless. There’s probably bigger conflicts in the legislature…..

 

“Behning’s decision to start a lobbying firm comes at a sensitive time for House lawmakers, who are considering ethics reform in the wake of a trio of Statehouse scandals involving former House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, former Indiana Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff and former Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.”

 

The words “Indiana legislature” and “ethics” seem to be diametrically opposed.