Missouri legislators took in about $100,000 in gifts from lobbyists during the summer legislative break. In total for this year, lobbyists have spent $850,702 to try to sway public policy.
If the gifts continue, it's likely to reach $1 million by the end of the year.
The Missouri Ethics Commission, the organization charged with policing the gifts, has released data on the gifts from August. As part of our ongoing project, we'll highlight a few of the trends and notable gifts. As always, you can explore every gift your lawmaker has received from lobbyists in our graphics.
- Smart ALEC: The American Legislative Exchange Council is a conservative organization that drafts model legislation for state lawmakers. Progressive outlets have held ALEC up as a "corporate bill mill exerting extraordinary and secretive influence in the Missouri legislature," while ALEC maintains that it serves only as a resource, and doesn't lobby its members. Several members attended this year's conference in August. Sens. Scott Rupp and Wayne Wallingford (both Republicans) received $82.77 worth of free food, courtesy of Century Link. Century Link and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives also spent $744.99 on expensive dinners, but chose not to name the beneficiaries. The lobbyists instead sourced it as going to "The Entire General Assembly."
- Take A Penny, Leave $585: Rep. Penny Hubbard (D) was taken out for $585 worth of free drinks in early August, paid for by an organization called "DC Inc." It was the biggest gift for a specific lawmaker during the month.
- Lawmakers Are From (Bruno) Mars... Rep. Myron Neth (R) received a few free tickets to a Bruno Mars concert in St. Louis, and also received food or drinks, with the total cost coming to nearly $500. Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Rep. Clem Smith (both St. Louis Democrats) each received $175 worth of tickets disclosed as a "Scottrade Center Event" on the evening of the Bruno Mars concert.
- Golf Still At The Fore: Just for August, lawmakers received more than $4,000 worth of golf from lobbyists. You can see every recipient below.
- Baseball Didn't Take A Hit: Apparently Cardinals baseball games are still a popular treat for lawmakers. Who would have known? In August alone, lawmakers accepted $4,683.82 in tickets to Cardinals games. Last month, we detailed which games they were going to. You can check out all the recipients (just for August) below.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel