Report shows lobbyists’ spending | NevadaAppeal.com

Report shows lobbyists’ spending

BRENDAN RILEY
Associated Press Writer

Three-quarters of the way through the 2007 Nevada Legislature, lobbyists have spent $120,724 on food and drinks at dinners, receptions and other events held to promote their clients’ interests.

The spending shows the lobbyists are behind the pace of the 2005 session. Two years ago, spending at the same point in that session was $139,096.

The February-April spending this year included $115,429 on group events, and another $5,295 on individual legislators, according to the report compiled by the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

The $5,295 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 $5,295 in spending on individual legislators through April shows that Assembly Ways and Means Chairman Morse Arberry, D-Las Vegas, was No. 1, getting $531 in food and drinks from lobbyists.

Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, was No. 2, at $425; followed in order by Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, the assistant majority whip in the Assembly, at $375; Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, at $323; Assembly Transportation Chairman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, at $309; Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, at $208; Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, at $176; Assembly Minority Leader Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, at $162; Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, the assistant majority leader in the Senate, at $155; and Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, at $154.

Lobbyists reported no individual spending on 16 of the 63 lawmakers; and less than $30 on six others.

The most expensive gatherings in April for lawmakers and others included separate events held by a lobbyist for the Nevada State Cable Telecommunications Association at $17,984; a Nevada Cancer Institute reception at $5,949; a Nevada AARP event at $5,385; and a Barrick Gold event at $5,800.

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.