UPDATE: Idaho Superintendent Luna reimburses lobbyists for buying his staff's and guests' lunch

After first saying, "I don't have a problem with it," Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna reimbursed a lobbying firm that represents Apple and other clients with an interest in upholding his 2011 education reforms in November.

Four state staffers were part of a table of 10 at Tuesday's City Club forum on Props 1, 2 and 3 featuring Luna and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise. Most of the others at the table were guests of Luna's. Two representatives of the Boise firm Sullivan Reberger Eiguren were present, lobbyist Gloria Totoricaguena and an intern who studies at Boise State.

Luna repaid the lobbyists out of his own pocket, said his spokeswoman, Melissa McGrath.

"I wanted to let you know that Superintendent Luna did reimburse Sullivan Reberger Eiguren this afternoon," McGrath said in an email. "He does not believe there was any wrongdoing in his staff sitting at the Sullivan Reberger Eiguren table at City Club; however, he does not want even the appearance to be misunderstood. He never wants anyone to call into question the ethics of his staff who came to support him at City Club on Tuesday. Therefore, he thought it was in the best interest to reimburse the money from his personal account."

Immediately after the lunch I asked Luna about the lobbyists picking up the tab. He said he was unaware of the gesture, but that it was OK with him. Shortly before 2 p.m. today, I posted the blog entry below. About 3 1/2 hours later, McGrath emailed to say Luna had made the reimbursement.


As Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna defended his education reforms Tuesday he had support from a table front and center paid for by a lobbying outfit representing two technology companies and the Idaho School Boards Association.

Sullivan Reberger Eiguren covered the $25 City Club of Boise lunch fee for Luna Chief of Staff Luci Willits, Chief Deputy Jason Hancock, spokeswoman Melissa McGrath and "Students Come First" Director Matt McCarter. Also at the table were YES for Idaho Education Campaign Manager Ken Burgess, former Luna employee Camille Wells, and Gayann DeMordaunt, a GOP activist and wife of Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle. Rounding out the group were Luna's sister, Teresa, who heads the Idaho Department of Administration, and two Sullivan Rebeger employees.

The lobbying firm represents Apple, the leading player in the school laptop business; iSchool Campus, a Park City, Utah, "smart school technology company;" and the school boards association, which has endorsed Proposition 1 but is neutral on Props 2 and 3. Prop 3 would put laptops in the hands of every Idaho high school student.

I asked Luna about the free lunches after his debate with Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise.

"I didn't know about that," he said. "I don't have a problem with it."

McGrath said the lunch was on the up-and-up. "They did sponsor the table for us and it doesn't violate any state ethics for a public employee."

Lobbyists are required to report such entertainment spending in the aggregate. Only when more than $100 is spent on a single legislator, public or executive officials or member of his or her household does the Sunshine Law require disclosure of spending by name.

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1349308568 UPDATE: Idaho Superintendent Luna reimburses lobbyists for buying his staff's and guests' lunch Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Make that $25

Unless each of those people were members of the City Club of Boise, the cost of the lunch fee was $25 per person. That's what was charged for non-members to attend and eat lunch.

Mr. Gatz is correct; I was misinformed

Full tables are $250. I've corrected the figure above.

Dan Popkey

"I don't have a problem with it."

Of course not...it appears to be why he's there in the first place.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Once again Luna fails the ethics test

It's a small thing, but simple: the people's business should be conducted with integrity, and above reproach. Luna does not understand this principle.

Common Sense

Common sense says that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Is this what the GOP calls "ethical"?

The Lunacy gang is so c*cky they don't even pretend to be impartial or above board.

Tommy, Tommy,

Tommy! What on airth do ye be thinkin' laddie? Ye are tryin' tuh win over the commoners tuh yer way of thinkin' and ye don't have a problem wid it? Change yer motto lad, to "stew and donuts come first!"

The teachers' union's double standards are showing...

Gee, you ALL overlook that Cronin is being paid an undisclosed sum to oppose the SCF laws while he's still a legislator! I guarantee you he's making more than $25.

Cronin is essentially acting as a lobbyist. Odd how many of you called for ethics reform yet you ignore a blatant ethics violation when it suits your agenda.

That old tenured mentality tends to get in the way of actually engaging your brain.

And if accepting a cheap lunch is such a problem, why didn't you gasp when both men got a free City Club mug?!?

Now, when can we expect Cronin to refund his paychecks from the Teachers' Union?


"Odd how many of you called for ethics reform yet you ignore a blatant ethics violation when it suits your agenda." And what you have posted is a perfect example. Do you understand hypocrisy?

I only know I miss Left Eye.


You fry wants with that?

Free lunch

It has been the policy of the City Club since it's inception that all speakers and one guest designated by them get a complimentary meal.

1 down, about a dozen to go...


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

This is excellent and shows

Republican Patrotism towards the USA and not allowing special interests....

Maybe Dems will follow by example?

You'er doing great with the hidden sarcasm there, Ugly.


You fry wants with that?

So, we are making progress in education

(re the update) Tom Luna demonstrates that he is not quite as dense as a fence post.

The teachers' union's double standards are showing...

It is AOK for Rep. Cronin to serve a a consultant AND a state representative. Nothing prohibits him from doing so, and his response to this very question during the debate was right on target.

It was AOK when an Idaho State Senator served as treasurer to the Elect Luna Campaign, sat on a school board in one district, worked as an educator in another, and is married to a lobbyist.

I liked Totoricaguena better

When she was teaching at BK and BSU; but even then she was preaching how much more $$ you could make with a masters degree. I guess it was all about the benjamins

she's now been hired by Eiguren

according to the paper

Speaking of ethics, Dan is

Speaking of ethics, Dan is anyone going to ask Luna if his reforms are from ALEC like the other states?