JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — While he has no plans to become a lobbyist in the traditional sense, Rep. Kevin Corlew is citing vague language in a new voter-approved law as the reason for his resignation from the Missouri House.
Corlew, who served four years representing parts of Clay and Platte counties in the General Assembly, narrowly lost his re-election bid in the general election. In the same election, voters approved a constitutional amendment that made sweeping ethical changes to the legislature.
Under Amendment 1, which goes into effect on December 6, 2018, lawmakers must wait two years after their tenure before advocating the government as a paid lobbyist.
But the new law is unclear as to what constitutes being a “paid lobbyist,” notes Corlew.
“While I have no plans to “wine and dine” politicians, as some perceive the job of a lobbyist is, I don’t want to tie the hands of my clients for two years if they need representation on a matter that involves a governmental entity,” writes Corlew.
He said his plan is to go back to being a full-time attorney. In that capacity, he will represent and advocate for clients in a variety of settings, including, for instance, in contractual negotiations, in the courtroom, and in front of governmental administrative agencies or legislative bodies.
Since the new law does not specify what constitutes being a paid lobbyist, Corlew said he resigned three weeks before the end of his term to ensure he is able to lawfully engage in his craft and profession as an advocate over the next two years.
Sen. Jake Hummel, who lost his re-election bid to Rep. Karla May, recently resigned to avoid being any future conflict between Amendment 1 and his position as the Secretary-Treasurer for the Missouri AFL-CIO. Rep. Kirk Matthews, who did not seek re-election, also recently resigned his post but did not specify a reason.
“Again, I am grateful for the opportunity to have served my constituents and the people of Missouri these past four years,” wrote Corlew. “As this train departs one platform, it moves forward to other purpose-driven destinations ahead. I look forward to continuing to serve God, people, our state, and our country in other areas.”
A recount of the November 6, 2018, election in his race against Matt Sain will take place next week. Should the recount end up in Corlew’s favor, he said he will “ gladly and humbly be sworn in.”
While representing the residents in Kansas City’s Northland, Corlew has worked to improve the criminal and civil justice systems, he has advocated for a better transportation system, and giving Missourians the opportunity to obtain REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses.
“I express gratitude to constituents, my family, all the people with whom I’ve worked, and my legislative colleagues for making the legislative experience a memorable and meaningful one,” wrote Corlew.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.