The running tab for tickets, meals, drinks and other lobbyist gifts hasn't slowed. In just three months this year, lobbyists spent more than $450,000 on legislators in Jefferson City.
In the horse race that nobody actually wants to be recognized as the winner, we have a new leader. Senator Ryan Silvey (R) overtook Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D) as the legislator that's received the most lobbyist gifts. Silvey has accepted $3,737 this year, but shouldn't be too comfortable with his lead. Nasheed is only about $100 back.
Both political parties have had a strong showing in the competition for the most gifts. Republican legislators have accepted $62,000 while Democrats have accepted $40,000. The other $350,000 went to committees and the general assembly, hiding who the real recipients are. In a couple of weeks, St. Louis Public Radio will explain this issue further.
A few noteworthy gifts:
- March Madness: Legislators received about $7,000 in "entertainment" gifts (most of it for tickets) in March, coinciding with NCAA conference basketball tournaments and the beginning of March Madness. Total entertainment spending this year: $17,000.
- Bowling Tournament: In March, the Senate apparently had a bowling tournament sponsored by various lobbyists who foot the bill for the lanes, food, drinks, and even shirts.
- Sweet Tooth: So far this year, Senator Brad Lager has received about $450 worth of jelly beans, M&Ms and soda for his office, bought by James R Moody and Associates and (somewhat ironically) Consumer Healthcare Products Association. According to vigorous research by St. Louis Public Radio, you can buy about 50 lbs worth of jelly beans for that amount of money.
St. Louis Public Radio is launching a new data-oriented project that will be keeping track of all the money Missouri legislators receive from lobbyists. In our interactive graphic, you can see every gift a legislator has received.
If you notice something that sticks out to you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel