November 14, 2011

Lobbyists continue their unreported wining and dining of state lawmakers

Ed Vogel wrote an interesting story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal today on how lobbyists are able to keep their expenditures on state legislators secret. A transparency bill in the last session would have changed that, but it didn't make it out of the Assembly.

As Vogel reports, the state senate unanimously passed a bill requiring lobbyists to report year-round expenditures on legislators, but the bill never reached a vote in the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee.

Since the bill didn't pass, the state's current lobbyist law, which requires lobbyists to report expenditures only during the legislative session, remains in effect. Lobbyists are allowed to "hunt" lawmakers through the 2012 general elections and Feb. 4, 2013, the start of the next session.

State Senator Shelia Leslie, D., Reno, who introduced the bill, didn't specify if any bills passed due to lobbyists buying lawmakers expensive dinners, and instead, she told the RJ she didn't want to impugn anyone's integrity.

Leslie said she plans on introducing her bill again in 2013, but it may face similar difficulties, because too many legislators from both parties enjoy lobbyists picking up the tab in the dark between sessions. Said Leslie, "Until there is more of a public uproar, this bill is not going to pass."