Michigan lobbyists are spending more money trying to influence lawmakers and state officials than ever before.
Craig Mauger is the Michigan Campaign Finance Network’s Executive Director, an organization that tracks lobbying and campaign finance expenditures.
“This is a national trend that has been playing out across the country, and in Michigan as well that amount that has been spent on lobbying state legislators has been increasing pretty much year over year. Last year in 2015, we saw $38.7 million spent on lobbying by all lobbyists that are on file at the Secretary of State here” says Mauger.
One of the biggest expenses was the wining and dining of lawmakers. Lobbyists spent $844,184 on food and drink. That amount has more than doubled since 2001.
Mauger also says this year’s record is not surprising.
“It’s important to remember…we’ve seen these increases in lobbying, we’ve seen these increase in the amount of meals being purchased for lawmakers, and all of this is happening under a Governor who wanted to do something about this. And under this governor we continue to see the flow of money into lobbying, just grow and grow” says Mauger.
There was also a record number of lobbyists operating in Michigan last year – nearly 3,000 were registered with the state.
Under Michigan law, it’s hard to track how much individual organizations spend on lobbying, because many are represented by multi-client firms. Such firms are only required to report total expenditures… and not amounts spent on behalf of individual clients.