Former Mayor John Cook restricted from city lobbying

KDBC
Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 6:32pm

John Cook's plans to register as a lobbyist fell apart, this week Cook registered with the intention to advocate for the Border’s Mayors Association and Doubletree Hotel, but his request was rejected because it's a violation of the ethics code.

"you can't do it for two years unless your lobbying for yourself you can go to council and say you know I want this for my house or my business, but to be paid to lobby for someone else apparently you have to restrain yourself from doing that" City Representative Michiel Noe said.

The ordinance Cook is talking about states that
"Any officer who engages in lobbying activities that would require registration under the city's lobbying ordinance during this 24 month period commits a misdemeanor"

The former mayor says that wasn't the original intention of the ordinance.

"I think there were some unintended consequences of the ordinance I personally didn't see it at the time, it was more we focused more on what kind of gifts we could receive, how do we have to report the gifts we had received that was the main part of the conversation" John Cook said.

Cook is the founder and executive director of the U.S. Mexico Border Mayor’s Association, one of his plans was to continue with the cooperative relationship with the City of El Paso he says the rejection and this law could hurt the city

“I don't think that anyone ever envisioned that the Executive Director for the U.S. Mexico Border Mayor's Association having been previous mayor of the city of El Paso would be restricted from communicating to city officials" the former mayor added.

“I think we should be able to listen to him, he should be able to provide the information that we really need as a border city so like I said earlier I personally don't have a problem with him becoming a lobbyist if he wants" Noe added.

John cook said he has a scheduled meeting with Mayor Oscar Leeser to address the issue, we tried to reach mayor Leeser for comment but he's out of town.

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