Report shows Nevada lobbyists’ spending |

Report shows Nevada lobbyists’ spending

Brendan Riley / Associated Press

CARSON CITY ” The economy is down but spending is up for Nevada’s legislative lobbyists, who have forked over $95,975 for food and drinks at dinners, receptions and other events during the first half of the 2009 session.

An analysis by The Associated Press of preliminary Legislative Counsel Bureau records on the lobbyist spending shows the advocates are well ahead of their $74,395 in spending during the first half of the 2007 session.

The February and March 2009 spending included $93,558 on group events sponsored by lobbyists, and another $2,417 in spending by individual advocates on individual legislators.

The $2,417 for individual legislators is low compared with the group event spending. However, there’s no lawmaker-by-lawmaker spending breakdown for big events, to which all Assembly members and senators as well as many non-legislators were invited.

A breakdown of the $2,417 in spending on individual legislators in February and March shows that Assembly Corrections, Parole and Probation Chairman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, was No. 1, getting $455 in food and drinks from lobbyists.

Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, was second at $380, followed by Assembly Commerce and Labor Chairman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, at $192; Senate Taxation Chairman Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, at $134; Assembly Transportation Chairman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, at $125, and Assembly Taxation Chairwoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas, at $111.

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Rounding out the top 10 were Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, at $101; Senate Commerce and Labor Chairwoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, at $83; Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Chairwoman Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, at $79; and Assemblyman Chad Christensen, R-Las Vegas, at $68.

Lobbyists reported spending nothing on 28 of the 63 lawmakers; and $20 or less on a dozen others.

The most expensive gatherings held for lawmakers and others in March included a Nevada Mining Association reception that cost $8,854; and a lunch and dinner sponsored by Farmers Insurance that cost $7,559.

During February, separate events held by the Nevada chapter of Associated General Contractors and the Nevada Taxpayers Association each cost more than $11,000.

Besides the group events, the lobbyists filed information showing one-on-one meetings with lawmakers and money spent. At the head of that list was Tim Crowley, representing the Nevada Mining Association, at $229.

Other top-spending advocates included Jennifer Simich of Republic Services at $173; Victoria Riley of Citizens for Justice and Nevada Justice Association for $172; NV Energy lobbyist Judy Stokey at $159; Morgan Baumgartner, with multiple clients, at $137; Brian McAnallen of EMBARQ at $96; former Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, with numerous clients, at $92; Todd Cohn, of the National Association Professional Employers, at $90; Josh Griffin, with multiple clients, at $90; and former judge and lawmaker Gene Porter of Frias Holding Co. at $88.

Lobbyists reported spending just over $175,000 in food and drinks on Nevada lawmakers during the four-month-long 2007 session. But the reports didn’t include the advocates’ personal expenses, such as their pay, housing, transportation and their own food and drinks and other related costs.

Critics of the sketchy reports say there’s likely to be some nonreporting or underreporting by some of the 970 registered advocates, including 570 paid lobbyists. However, there’s no way to prove it since there’s no follow-up accounting or auditing.

More detailed reports are filed by some government agency lobbyists with their employers. But government advocates represent less than one-fourth of the total number of those lobbying the Legislature.