Tennessee 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.

Public agencies, including Nashville Electric Service and Metro Nashville, have spent $5.3 million over the past three years on registered lobbyists.[citation needed] On average, each of Tennessee's 47 local government bodies with registered lobbyists spent an average of about $111,600 each between 2006-2009.[citation needed]

The city of Memphis led the state in paying for lobbying services, both within Tennessee and on the federal level. Memphis spent nearly $1.1 million to hire three firms to direct state spending for city projects and a fourth firm to work on federal legislation and spending for the city's riverfront development efforts.[citation needed]

A report conducted by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research titled "The Dangerous Cycle of Taxpayer-funded Lobbying" concludes that government sector lobbying happens frequently in Tennessee. Taxpayer-funded lobbying in Tennessee leads to a cycle of overspending. When lobbyists for cities and other government agencies in Tennessee lobby at the state or federal level, they are intent on creating new taxes or raising existing taxes. The money generated from new taxes, in turn, is used by Tennessee local entities to fund more government sector lobbying.[1]

State Lobbying

Several Tennessee cities and other local entities have invested large amounts of money into lobbying in Nashville. The city of Memphis spent $638,357 over the last three years, the biggest spender. The Memphis City Schools is second, with $225,104 spent. Rounding out the top five, Shelby County, the city of Chattanooga, and the Electric Power board of Chattanooga all spent over 150,000$.[1]

The Gibson County Special School distric spent over $66,000 on lobbying. In June 2007, the state government passed a bill that granted the school district the authority to issue $23 million worth of bonds in order to pay for the construction of new buildings. In addition, the bill granted the school district the power to raise property taxes for the purpose of paying the principal and interest of the loan.[2]

Federal Lobbying

Governments in Tennessee have also spent money lobbying at the federal level. The city of Memphis spent more than any other entity: $453,785.[1] The city lobbied the federal government for money to fund various city projects and its riverside development efforts. [citation needed]

Other top spenders included Shelby County, the city of Oak Ridge, and the city of Jackson, all of which spent between $200-300,000 on government sector lobbying[3]


Tennessee scores poorly on lobbying information requried to be disclosed. The Pacific Institute characterizes the state's requirements as "sparse" for government lobbying disclosure.[4]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

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


Emergency services





See also

External links


Template:Tennessee government sector lobbying associations Template:Lists of government sector lobbying associations