Lobbying Missouri

Companies and other organizations with an interest in Missouri state government hire lobbyists to influence policy in Jefferson City. State law requires lobbyists to disclose how much they spend in the process, listing which officials received benefits, such as free meals, professional sports tickets, trips and other gifts. You can also learn more about how we built this site or download all the data.

Interactive: Explore the Numbers

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has banned all committee hearings and legislative meetings held at country clubs and restaurants, effective immediately.

St. Louis Public Radio

The 2014 legislative session was historically one of the most expensive sessions. At least for lobbyists.

In the first six months of this year, lobbyists spent $673,062 on gifts (most of them meals) for the Missouri legislature. Taking a look at the past decade's worth of data, this is the second highest year on record. The most expensive year was in 2013, when legislators accepted $749,994 in the first half of the year.

The average cost of a gift this year was $102.65, which is roughly on par with prior years.

(via Flickr/Kami)

Through the first six months of the year, Missouri lawmakers accepted $675,000 in gifts from lobbyists.

On Monday, we'll be taking a look at some of the noticeable trends -- how this year stacks up with years past, which parties and lawmakers have been taking the gifts, etc. But today we're going to take a look at four noteworthy gifts from the first half of the year.

(via Flickr/401K)

Lobbyists spend nearly $1 million each year on gifts for Missouri lawmakers. The types of gifts vary greatly -- from expensive meals and drinks to tickets for sporting events to small things like stamps and books.

Each month, lobbyists have to disclose those gifts. And, in partnership with NPR, St. Louis Public Radio has a website (LobbyingMissouri.org) that keeps track of it all.

Money gift
"Tax Credits" / Via Flickr

The Missouri House could debate a bill this week that would enact some changes to how lobbying is conducted and disclosed in Jefferson City.

Currently, there are no limits on how much a lawmaker can receive in gifts from lobbyists. The gifts from lobbyists can include anything from food and drinks to expensive travel to sports tickets. Altogether, lobbyists spend about $1 million each year on the gifts.

A bill by state Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, would make some changes to lobbying practices, but it wouldn't be the sweeping ethics reform that many have called for.

Almost 300 bills were prefiled in the Missouri Senate and Missouri House before the legislative session even opened. Now that the legislative session is underway, some of those bills will fade away, others will move through the legislative process and even more new ones will be introduced.

No wonder it's hard to keep up with what's going on in the legislature.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

This week the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Secretary of State Jason Kander to the podcast. Kander, a Democrat from Kansas City, narrowly captured the statewide office in 2012 after a hard-fought contest with Republican Shane Schoeller.

Tim Bommel/Mo. House Communications

Updated 7:19 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is once again pressing for ethics reform in state government, and for the resurrection of campaign donation limits. But this time, Nixon may be hoping for stronger interest in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, where some GOP legislators now share some of his views.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Companies and other organizations with an interest in Missouri state government hire lobbyists to influence policy in Jefferson City. State law requires lobbyists to disclose how much they spend in the process, listing which officials received benefits, such as free meals, professional sports tickets, trips and other gifts.

Lobbying Missouri, a new reporting partnership of St. Louis Public Radio and NPR, provides an interactive way to follow the money.

(via Wikimedia Commons/MyCanon)

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.

Busch Stadium
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

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.

(via Flickr/brianandjaclyn)

With May's lobbying numbers in, and Missouri's legislative session completely behind us, we now have a complete picture of Missouri's lobbying system.

With the final tally, legislators took in $731,000 from lobbyists hoping to gain influence. All of this took place in just five months.

May's Findings

Lobbyist Gifts To Mo. Legislators Exceed $600,000

Jun 4, 2013
Flickr: stevendepolo

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.

(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

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.

Running Tally Of Mo. Lobbyist Gifts: $450,000

May 2, 2013
Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Explore the Numbers

Who Are Missouri's Biggest Lobbyists?

Apr 11, 2013
Money gift
"Tax Credits" / Via Flickr

Infographics: Explore the Numbers

In the second chart in our "By The Numbers" project, you can see who the biggest lobbyists are. The top is probably a name you will recognize.

Infographics: Explore the Numbers

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.