Louisiana government sector lobbying

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Taxpayer-funded lobbying is government to government lobbying. Parishes, 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 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.”[1] 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.[1]

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.[1]


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.[1] And historically, the parish has spent much more on several contracts with several firms.[2]

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.[1]

At least two other parishes are active in lobbying the federal government. Plaquemines Parish spent $186,000 on lobbying the federal government the first two quarters of 2010.[3] See also "Issues."

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.

Issues

The St. Tammany Parish president lobbied federal officials for flood protection funding in 2010.[4]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

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

Emergency services

Justice

Municipal

Public officials and employees

School

Other

External links

References