Iowa 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 to taxpayers' benefit.

A Des Moines Register report from summer of 2009 identified $1.8 million in Iowa government sector lobbying costs for that year, which included lobbying expenses of "state agencies, municipalities, county agencies and associations where member dues are paid by taxpayers, such as the Iowa League of Cities" (see "Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations" below).[1]

Federal lobbying

Polk County has federal lobbying representation with Federal Advocates, Inc., for $60,000 for 2011.[2]

Success

Polk County officials reported its contracted lobbying firm helped Polk County secure $600,000 from the federal government for Northwest 66th Avenue reconstruction.[2] The lobbyists helped prepare applications for nearly $50 million in federal assistance for road, trail and bridge projects, county leaders said at the time.[2] According to officials, lobbying representation helps better position the county's interests.[3]

Issues

Iowa sherriffs lobbied to limit gun permit and carry laws in the state.[4]

Outlawing government sector lobbying

For budget tightening, Republicans in Iowa have suggested saving $4 million by eliminating "taxpayer-funded lobbyists," but these plans are apparently not serious. [1] [5]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

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

County

Emergency services

Justice

Municipal

Public employees

School

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

Other

References