Committee reviews lobbying, dues payments by public bodies

The Legislative Post Audit Committee received an audit Wednesday on money spent by state agencies, school districts and other units of government on lobbying and membership in associations. Here is link to the audit information. 

The report notes that state agencies and local governments can employ lobbyists or join associations that employee lobbyists. State law defines lobbying and who must register as a lobbyist. Not everyone who engages in “lobbying” is required to register (for example, state employees are exempt). Registered lobbyists are required to annually report funds they receive from public entities. 

In 2019, registered lobbyists reported receiving almost $1.3 million in public funds to lobby, with school districts, cities and counties paying about $250,000 for each group. 

The auditors also surveyed almost 3,800 state and local governments. About 25 percent responded, including 52 percent of school districts. Those who responded reported paying about $11 million on fees and dues to professional associations. About $5 million was paid to associations that lobby at the state or federal level. 

The report noted that in many cases, only a portion of dues and fees go to lobbying. For example, KASB has several staff members who spend a portion of their time on lobbying, but most of the association’s staff and services are in areas such as legal, leadership, insurance, communications and training. 

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