By Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Indiana Capital Chronicle
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s chief of staff will soon leave the agency to lobby for an electric utility group.
Ryan Heater has served as the powerful regulator’s staff chief since 2019, but he’ll soon head to Indiana Electric Cooperatives, or IEC, to be the group’s vice president of government relations.
“It has been a privilege and honor to serve Hoosiers throughout my career,” Heater said in an August 21 edition of the Indiana Utility Report.
“I am excited for this opportunity to support IEC and our (rural electric membership cooperative) communities across Indiana,” Heater added.
The state of Indiana, however, maintains restrictions for its former employees — which the Office of the Inspector General summarizes as, “Do not go to work for a company that did work for you as a state employee.”
State law generally bars former state employees from becoming lobbyists for a year after their departure, with some exceptions. People can request advisory opinions from the inspector general to ensure they’re in compliance, since a positive finding “acts as conclusive proof” of nonviolation.
Heater didn’t request an advisory opinion from the State Ethics Commission “because one was not needed,” IURC spokeswoman Stephanie Hodgin said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle.
IEC, she said, “is a separate entity not regulated by the Commission and Ryan will not be doing any executive-branch lobbying for at least a year after he leaves state employment.”
That doesn’t rule out legislative lobby work, however.
Before Heater became the commission’s chief of staff, with a salary of $138,000, he served as its executive director of external affairs, according to his LinkedIn.
Previously, he was policy and legislative director for Lt. Govs. Suzanne Crouch, Eric Holcomb and Sue Ellspermann. He also held a management and government affairs role with the Indiana Cable Telecommunications Association and worked as a legislative assistant in Indiana’s House of Representatives.
That’s according to a 2019 biography of Heater from his alma mater, Purdue University — from which he received an undergraduate and law degree.
See full article here.