Missouri 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.
Legislation to ban government sector lobbying
State Representative Shane Schoeller (R) proposed legislation that would limit the practice. The bill would not outright ban recipients of tax dollars from hiring lobbyists, but the lobbyists would be forbidden from influencing legislators to vote a certain way on a bill. “You can monitor, you can educate, but you can’t advocate,” said Schoeller. The legislation would work by penalizing any registered lobbyist who accepted tax dollars to advocate a position by barring them from lobbying for up to two years and by fining governments from $1,000 to $5,000 for using tax dollars to pay for a lobbyist. The lobbyist for the Missouri School Boards Association opposed the legislation because of the consequences and infeasibility of limiting education of lawmakers by lobbyists.
Several local entities have been active in lobbying. For federal lobbying, St. Louis County reported $180,000 spent on lobbying in 2005 and St. Charles County reported spending $60,000 in 2008; Jefferson County had a registered lobbyist for 2008. St. Louis County has a chief lobbyist on its payroll. The Greene County Commission also reported lobbying expenditures for 2010.
The Missouri Hospital Association, representing more than 150 hospitals across Missouri, has spent more than $400,000 to oppose Proposition C. Some of these hospitals are public hospitals. The money went towards mailing campaigns discouraging the proposition across the state.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations
- Missouri Assessor’s Association
- Missouri Association of Councils of Government
- Missouri Association of Public Administrators
- Missouri Association of Sewer Districts
- Missouri Collectors Association