Exclusive: Indiana's Speaker of the House is registered as a lobbyist in New York City
Republican Todd Huston, engaged in a pitched battle for re-election, says it was a clerical mistake on behalf of the College Board. The College Board says Huston hasn't lobbied for them—and won't.
Indiana Speaker of the House Todd Huston is registered as a lobbyist for the College Board in New York City and has been since 2015, according to a review of public records—though Huston claims to have never actually lobbied on behalf of his employer.
"I have not and do not lobby,” Huston said in a statement. “Additionally, at my request, there is an organizational firewall in place to ensure I am not involved in any of my employer's matters involving the state of Indiana.”
Huston, who became the 120th speaker of the Indiana House this year as the handpicked successor of Rep. Brian Bosma, was registered by his employer as a lobbyist in New York City for six consecutive years, from 2015-2020. A search for the nonprofit behind the SAT and AP exams in NYC’s lobbyist database reveals Huston’s name each year.
“I hereby authorize and designate the following employee(s) to lobby on behalf the College Board effective January 1, 2020, before all officials, bodies and instrumentalities of the City of New York during calendar year 2020,” reads a Dec. 19, 2019 letter directed to the Lobbying Bureau of the City of New York, signed by the College Board’s Senior Director of Regional Operations Gretchen Griesmer and Executive Director of Compliance and Associate General Counsel Aya Horikoshi.
Huston wasn’t aware of his registration status until within the last several weeks, and so did not disclose it to the Indiana House Ethics Committee.
In 2019, CFO Jeff Olson made an appearance but was taken off in the 2020 letter, a move implying the list was closely monitored.
In 2020, only three members of the company’s executive leadership were listed as lobbyists; Huston, among them. The chief of global policy and external relations was not registered; neither was the CIO, CCO or general counsel. According to John McGrath, chief communications and marketing officer for the College Board, a graphic designer was also inexplicably listed. In New York City, a failure to supply the correct information in the filing is considered a violation of the lobbying law and subject to penalties.
In an interview, McGrath defended Huston.
“Mr. Huston was inadvertently added to that document, and his name will be removed from it in all similar items going forward,” McGrath told IMPORTANTVILLE. “Mr. Huston has not and will not lobby on behalf of the College Board.” IMPORTANTVILLE could find no immediate evidence beyond the letter that he did.
McGrath said that only one name should’ve been on the list: Michael O’Sullivan.
Huston is the senior vice president of state and district partnerships, a role that earns him a compensation of $500,000 annually, according to the group’s 2018 tax filings.
In 2015, Republican Rep. Bob Behning planned to lobby out-of-state, then reversed course. At the time, then-Republican Speaker of the House Brian Bosma said “I’m uncomfortable with that because you take with you some of the imprimatur of your elected office here. I’m just personally not comfortable with that. I wouldn't find myself in that position.”
Huston faces Democrat Aimee Rivera Cole in a tight race on Nov. 3.