QUESTION PRESENTED Is the Kentucky Retirement Systems a "de jure municipal corporation" within the meaning of KRS 6.611(22)(b)(3), and are the employees of the Kentucky Retirement Systems required to register as legislative agents if they engage in lobbying activities?
DISCUSSION KRS 6.611(22)(b)(3), states that the definition of a legislative agent does not include "a public servant acting in his fiduciary capacity as a representative of his agency, college, university, or city, county, urban-county, or charter county government, except persons engaged by a de jure municipal corporation, such as the Kentucky Lottery Corporation or the Kentucky Housing Corporation, institutions of higher education, or local governments, whose primary responsibility during sessions of the General Assembly is to lobby:".
KRS 61.645 creates a Board of Trustees to administer the Kentucky Retirement Systems as a municipal corporation. The Board is given the powers and privileges of a corporation, combined with many characteristics of a state agency, such as the authority to promulgate regulations. KRS 45.750(1)(b)(5)(b), dealing with capital projects and bonds, includes Kentucky Retirement Systems in its list of "municipal corporations which exercise their authority on a statewide basis". The Teachers Retirement System, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation, and the Kentucky Housing Corporation are listed together in that section. KRS 45.750 has a limited scope, but it is indicative of the manner in which the General Assembly has considered the Kentucky Retirement Systems in other areas of legislation.
September 28, 1993
PAGE TWO The term "de jure municipal corporation" is not defined in the Kentucky Revised Statutes. Black's Law Dictionary defines "de jure corporation" as a corporation which has been created as a result of compliance with all of the constitutional or statutory requirements of the state of incorporation. De jure literally means "lawful". Without more specific guidance in the Kentucky Revised Statutes regarding the intended meaning of "de jure municipal corporation", the Commission feels that a reasonable interpretation would be that a municipal corporation which is lawfully created according to statute is by definition a de jure municipal corporation for the purposes of the Legislative Ethics Code.
Having concluded that the Kentucky Retirement Systems is a de jure municipal corporation for the purposes of the Legislative Ethics Code, the second question is whether or not the Kentucky Retirement Systems has any employees "whose primary responsibility during sessions of the General Assembly is to lobby". This would require a factual determination based upon the duties of each employee during sessions of the General Assembly. The Commission believes that a reasonable interpretation of the word "primary" in this context is most important, or fundamental. Therefore, the Kentucky Retirement Systems must determine whether or not they have employees whose most important or fundamental responsibility during sessions of the General Assembly is to lobby. If they do have employees whose most important responsibility during sessions is to lobby they must register as legislative agents and the exclusion in KRS 6.611(22)(b)(3) would not be available to them.
OPINION The Kentucky Retirement Systems is a de jure municipal corporation within the context of KRS 6.611(22)(b)(3), and any employees whose most important, or fundamental, responsibility during sessions of the General Assembly is to lobby must be registered as legislative agents.