Public Bodies Are Paying Over $7.4 Million Annually to Lobbyists
Total spending climbed by over $850,000
Private sector spending on lobbying still goes unreported
CHICAGO, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Local governments, transit agencies and other public bodies spent nearly $7.5 million in the last fiscal year on contracts with lobbyists hired to monitor and influence state officials, according to an annual survey conducted by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR).
ICPR utilized the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to gather contract information from 141 local governments and public agencies, which disclosed contract and/or billing information from 77 lobbying entities. The lobbyists were paid a total of $7,447,500 for work conducted between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.
“We found a slight increase in payments for contracts in effect the last two years, but a large increase in the overall number of contracts, so that total spending has climbed by over $850,000,” said David Morrison, Deputy Director of ICPR. “The information gathered in this survey gives the public a better picture of how public dollars are used to monitor and lobby state government, but state lobbying regulations reveal next to nothing about much larger lobbying budgets of corporations, unions and others with lobbyists in Springfield.
“Disclosing this spending by public bodies was only possible because FOIA requires that government contracts be provided to members of the public who ask for it,” Morrison said. “State lobbying regulations should be changed to require more reporting of financial information as is done at the federal level. The public should have easy access to detailed information about public and private organizations employing lobbyists. What are they spending to lobby our elected leaders and top state officials? Whom are they lobbying? And what exactly are they asking of state government?”
The findings included:
- The Regional Transportation Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace and Metra combined for $1,024,600 in spending on lobbying.
- Municipalities account for over half of the units of government identified in the research.
- There were 15 public colleges and universities with lobbying contracts.
The complete survey, including the identity of lobbyists and contract amounts for each of the governments, is available at www.ilcampaign.org.
For a summary of the report, please go here: http://ilcampaign.org/press-releases/lobbyist-survey-2011.
For a PDF of the full report, please go here: http://ilcampaign.org/issue-briefings/governments-lobbying-state-governments-2011.
CONTACT: David Morrison, 312-335-1767
SOURCE Illinois Campaign for Political Reform