Ah, the summer recess. A time for legislators to unwind, have a few cold ones, and get taken to baseball games by lobbyists.
Even though Missouri lawmakers won't return to Jefferson City until next week's veto session, lobbyists have continued to shower legislators with gifts through the dog days of summer. Lobbyists have spent about $100,000 on gifts since mid-May.
That brings the grand total for 2013 to $819,127.47.
April was a good month for legislators hoping to receive freebies from lobbyists, showing a sharp uptick from the previous month in gifts, according to the most recent lobbyist disclosures.
The grand total for gifts so far is $619,157. Once again, the vast majority (75%) of the gifts for this month were to groups and committees instead of individual legislators. As we've detailed before, it's a practice that hides the true recipient of the gift.
Nice restaurants in Jefferson City should be sad to see the Missouri Legislative session end. They’ve received tens of thousands of dollars worth of business from lobbyists courting Missouri’s legislators over dinners and drinks.
Who were the legislators taken out for expensive meals? Well, in many cases, we don’t really know.
In just two months this year, Missouri legislators and state-wide officials received more than a third of a million dollars in gifts from lobbyists. Expensive meals, basketball tickets and clothes are all common gifts to the people that craft our laws and govern us.