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Lobbyist spending down this year drops by a third

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By Ralph Damiani

Final reports out of the recent legislative session and beyond show that lobbyist spending has dropped significantly so far this year, reflecting the tough economic times confronting businesses and interest groups that hire lobbyists to influence the Legislature and other state officials.

While we had hoped a new climate of openness was part of that, we tend to doubt it.

We are not against lobbyists per se as that is nothing more than people getting together to seek to influence their elected officials. That is good.

It is the backdoor, behind the scenes stuff that we object to. And when big payouts are made.

Tha Associated Press reports that lobbyists and their clients spent slightly more than $354,000 during the first four months of the year, according to an analysis of disclosure reports filed with the secretary of state’s office.

That total is down one-third from expenditures during the same four-month period in 2007, when the Legislature last held a 60-day session. Typically, lobbyist spending is higher during a 60-day session than even-numbered years when the Legislature only meets for 30 days.


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