Report shows lobbyists’ spending less than 2005 session |

Report shows lobbyists’ spending less than 2005 session

Associated Press Writer

Nevada’s legislative lobbyists have spent $74,395 on food and drinks at dinners, receptions and other events during the first half of the 2007 session, a new report showed Friday.

The spending shows the lobbyists remain well behind the pace of the 2005 session. Two years ago, spending at that session’s midpoint was $126,380.

The spending during February and March this year included $69,997 on group events, and another $4,398 on individual legislators, according to the report compiled by the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

The $4,398 for individual legislators is low compared with the group event spending, but that’s because there’s no lawmaker-by-lawmaker spending breakdown for big events to which all Assembly members and senators, as well as many non-legislators, were invited.

A breakdown of the $4,398 in spending on individual legislators through March shows that Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Morse Arberry, D-Las Vegas, was No. 1, getting $455 in food and drinks from lobbyists.

Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, the assistant majority whip in the Assembly, was No. 2, getting $375 in food and drink; followed in order by Assembly Transportation Chairman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, at $309; Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, at $244; Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, at $215; Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, at $208; Assistant Assembly Majority Leader Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, at $139; and Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, the assistant majority leader in the Senate, at $120.

Lobbyists reported no individual spending on 17 of the 63 lawmakers; and less than $30 on six others.

The most expensive gatherings in March for lawmakers and others included separate events held by the Nevada Housing Coalition at $4,346; the Nevada AFL-CIO at $3,981; the Nevada Press Association at $3,135; and the Nevada Rural Hospital Partners at $3,003.

Lobbyists reported spending just over $161,000 in food and drinks on Nevada lawmakers during the four-month-long 2005 session. But the reports didn’t include the advocates’ personal expenses, such as their pay, housing, transportation and their own food and drinks and other related costs.

Critics of the sketchy reports say there’s bound to be nonreporting or underreporting by some of the several hundred registered advocates, but there’s no way to prove it since there’s no follow-up accounting or auditing.

More detailed reports are filed by some government agency lobbyists with their employers. But government advocates represent less than one-fourth of the total number of those lobbying the Legislature.

Nevada has received a failing grade from the Center for Public Integrity in a survey of lobbyist disclosure laws around the nation. The survey focused on lobbyist registration, spending reports, public access and enforcement rules governing state lobbyists.