Sunday, September 02, 2012

ALEC expenses buried in Missouri lobbyists' reports

Not one Democrat and only a handful of Missouri Republicans attended the national American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, in July, but Missouri Ethics Commission documents that went online Saturday indicate that state lobbyists are crediting most of their expenses to the entire General Assembly.

By doing so, the expenses are not credited to any particular legislator, though those attending the convention may have received as much as hundreds of dollars worth of gifts from lobbyists representing special interests that are trying to curry the favor of the legislators.

Among those who credited their expenses to the General Assembly:

-CenturyLink lobbyist Doug Galloway reported $1,000 in meals and drinks

-AT&T's John R. Sondag, $550 in meals for "dinner" and $800 for the Missouri Night reception

-Bryan Cave LLC's Guy William Black, $800 for meals

-Ford Motor Company's Tony Reinholdt, $600 for meals

-Catalyst Group's Daniel Pfeifer, $800 for meals

-Cerner's Carrie Sherer, $800 for meals

-Missouri Chamber of Commerce's Tracy King, $800 for meals.

The total is $6,100 in lobbyists' gifts credited to the Missouri General Assembly, while only a few legislators, and no Democrats, attended the annual conference.

Showing a little more accuracy, but not much, lobbyist Trey Davis, representing Missouri Energy Development Association, credited $1,371.84 to the House Majority Caucus.

Judging from the lobhyists' reports, it appears that those attending the conference included Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem; Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis; Rep. Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill.

A few other legislators appear to have gone, but are not listed as receiving lobbyists' gifts specifically credited to the ALEC conference.

ALEC has been under fire for the past several months for its connection with cookie-cutter bills targeting public education, Voter ID, the Stand Your Ground gun laws, among others, that are given to the legislators ready-made. The legislators return to their home states and submit the bills as written, except the bills now feature the names of those legislators.

A number of businesses have ended their association with ALEC since the spotlight finally focused on the organization this year.


While the Ethics Commission reports that went online Saturday show a portion of the money spent by special interests trying to advance their agendas at ALEC, more is likely to surface later this month when legislators file their quarterly campaign reports.

In the July 29 Turner Report, I noted that soon-to-be Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, had passed along his lodging bills, as well as his ALEC dues to his campaign contributors. With all of the scrutiny, ALEC has received, you can bet that more of Jones' fellow legislators will follow his example.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our democracy very much remains in jeopardy until we have full disclosure and accountability with respect to those who seek to influence the decisions of our decision-makers. Sunshine is still the best disinfectant of all! Rick Nichols