Lobbyists in Michigan attempted to curry favors at the state Capitol last year by dropping $37 million, a slight uptick from 2013's totals, according to a new report
released this week by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
But with several reports still outstanding, it's likely 2014's total will set a new record for reported spending by Michigan lobbyists, a release from the do-gooder group says. Even so, thanks to Michigan's disclosure requirements, lobbyists don't have to identify who they're showering with attention. Consider: Lobbyists reported $725,000 for hospitality, travel, and accommodations last year, the MCFN's report says, with just over $126,000 spent in situations that involve large groups. Of the remaining roughly $600,000, only 16 percent — or $98,000 — had a state official's name attached to it.
And lobbyists only have to report the names of an individual if they spent more than $58 in a month, or $350 throughout the year, on that person, the report says. "Thus, the top recipients of itemized individual dining benefits may have benefited considerably more than was reported," the report says.
The names of 21 officials who dined with lobbyists — a completely legal interaction(!), never fear — to the tune of more than $1,000
was disclosed, however. The top five? Former Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe ($5,136); state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton ($3,865); former state Rep. Frank Foster, R-Pellston ($3,173); state Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet ($2,585); and Sen. Rebekkah Warren, D-Ann Arbor ($2,384). MCFN's report says hospitality totals — referred to tongue-very-far-in-cheek as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance for Politicians (SNAP) — topped out just north of $80,000.
Read the rest of the report here