Louisiana government sector lobbying
This practice is controversial because public funds are spent to lobby for an agenda not subject to direct approval by voters, and outcomes may be contrary to taxpayers' benefit.
Lobbying transparency and ethics
Jefferson Parish Councilman Tom Capella introduced and passed a resolution in August of 2009 extending the lobbying contracts of three firms. Lobbying firm Adams & Reese and Steptoe & Johnson saw their lobbying contracts extended through Sept. 20, 2011, for a “cost not to exceed $270,000 per year.” Adams & Reese was included on Jefferson Parish’s payroll as an official D.C. lobbyist for 2009. In 2009, when the firm’s contract was extended through Capella’s resolution, Adams & Reese donated $15,500 to every member of the Jefferson Parish Council except Councilman Byron Lee.
On the state level, Adams & Reese runs the parish's lobbying. During the same Council meeting last August, the Council moved to approve another resolution extending the firm’s contract to lobby state agencies until September 2011 for a cost of $85,000.
Lobbying by local entities
From a big picture perspective, lobbying money equates to huge numbers in Jefferson Parish. In 2009, just on the federal level, the Jefferson Parish Council paid $157,500 for Adams & Reese; $120,000 for Steptoe & Johnson; and another $40,000 for Bell, Heroux & Zelden, according to the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records. And historically, the parish has spent much more on several contracts with several firms.
And since the current Council was seated in 2007, members have spent a combined $777,500 on lobbyists for the federal level. In comparison, the preceding council, seated in 2003, spent only $560,000 during its first three years.
Some local governments lobby through membership in government sector lobbying associations. St. Landry Parish School Board belongs to the Louisiana School Boards Association, which lobbies on behalf of its members.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations
- Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police
- Louisiana Sheriffs' Association
- Louisiana State Troopers Association
- Police Jury Association of Louisiana
Public officials and employees
- Louisiana Association of School Executives
- Louisiana High School Association
- Louisiana School Boards Association
- Louisiana Assessors Association
- Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus
- Louisiana Collectors Association