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South Carolina government sector lobbying

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Taxpayer-funded lobbying is government to government lobbying. Counties, cities, school districts, public facilities, and associations of public employees frequently use public funds to influence legislation and appropriations at the state and federal levels.

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 taxpayers benefit.

2008 expenditures on lobbying

According to the South Carolina Policy Council, South Carolina government agencies spent $1.46 million of taxpayer funds on lobbyists in 2008 with a projected yearly cost to taxpayers for all of 2008 at more than $2.9 million, a 31 percent increase from 2005.[1].

School government sector lobbying

The South Carolina House of Representatives rejected a proposal in March 2010 that would have prohibited school districts from routing taxpayer money to fund government sector lobbying associations. Representative Boyd Brown introduced the budget amendment, which would eliminate government sector lobbying and prohibit the use of tax dollars for dues at any "organization which employs a lobbyist." The bill died March 18 by one vote.[2]

Colleges and universities

11 public and private institutions in South Carolina spent at least $10,000 to lobby the federal government in 2000 to 2009.[3]

South Carolina's two largest schools, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, have shelled out more than $900,000 combined for lobbying since the start of 2009 to September 2010.[4]

Clemson University spent the most, spending $1.7 million on lobbying in the ten years, $1.6 million of these spent hiring Patton Boggs and another lobbying firm, Van Scoyoc Associates. It has spent $145,927 on federal lobbying on the first 6 months of 2010.[4] The university hired a full-time lobbyist and continued a contract with a separate lobbying firm in 2009, the year in which it spent $290,000.[3] The university's lobbying targeted legislation such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and climate change, energy, and transportation bills.[3]

Claflin University was the second-highest spender, spending $970,000 from 2000 to 2009. The University of South Carolina, based in Columbia, was next, spending $800,000.[3]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

The following is a list of South Carolina government sector lobbying associations by type:

City and municipal

County

Emergency services

School

Other

References

  1. New Taxpayer Funded Lobbying Figures Show 30 Percent Increase
  2. "Effort To Ban Taxpayer-Funded Educrat Lobbying Fails, Fits News, March 22, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The State, "Clemson spends big on Washington lobbying," February 22, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 "SC Schools Spent More Than $1.5 Million on Lobbying ," Watchdog.org, September 14, 2010

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