LINCOLN, NE — Today, Gavin Geis, executive director of Common Cause Nebraska, lodged a complaint with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) alleging that Rev. Arin Hess is lobbying Nebraska State Senators but is not registered with the Commission as required by law.
Hess, chaplain and president of the pastoral nonprofit Capitol Studies, has provided “Bible studies” for elected officeholders. The reverend conducted these exclusive studies with Nebraska state senators in their private offices while also integrating WallBuilders videos and other materials. WallBuilders is a Texas-based group dedicated to “providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values,” according to their website. Senators who have attended Hess’ studies introduced several bills last legislative session that aligned with WallBuilders’ proposals.
According to the NADC, a lobbyist is defined as one “who attempts to affect matter before the Nebraska Legislature on behalf of another.” Lobbyists must register with the NADC and file Quarterly Lobbyist Reports disclosing their receipts and expenditures, something Hess has not done.
Geis argues that Hess’ representation of Capitol Studies, use of WallBuilders materials, and Hess’ exclusive studies with the officials should require the reverend registering as a lobbyist.
“Nebraskans deserve to have the confidence that their elected officials are not conflicted or compromised due to a lack of regulation,” said Geis. “That’s why we’re calling on Hess to register as a lobbyist immediately. While Hess and Capitol Studies are within their rights to advocate for policy related to their faith, lobbyists and their principals should not escape regulation.”