More money is being spent to influence the state legislature.
A report issued by Common Cause Nebraska discloses a record $15.5 million was spent on lobbying legislators during the 2015 legislative session. That amount exceeded that spent on lobbying during the 2014 session by $1.5 million.
Jack Gould, issues chairman with Common Cause Nebraska, says those lobbying lawmakers just keep spending more and more each year.
“Well, I think the increase of $1.5 million spent by principals, that’s the people who hire lobbyists, is a record high and it’s a real jump, about an 11% increase,” Gould tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We see increases almost every year, but this is a pretty large increase.”
Gould says most of the money is being spent on the salaries of lobbyists, with some lobbying firms making more than a million dollars representing a number of firms attempting to influence the Unicameral.
Gould says while state senators make only $12,000 a year, lobbyists at the Capitol make much more.
“Well, I think the area in which the most money is being spent is in the area of lobbyists’ compensation,” Gould says. “So, that would mean one of two things. We have a few more lobbyists now, but we also are looking at probably increased fees for lobbying.”
Gould says he hopes Nebraskans read the report.
“That should be something people are concerned about, because that means that the people who can afford to hire a lobbyist are buying influence, really, attempting to buy influence at our state Capitol.”