Jack Gould, Common Cause Nebraska Issues chairman, says the lobbyists’ tools appear unlimited in Nebraska.
“Almost $17.5 million tops the most ever that’s been earned by the lobby,” Gould tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “In light of the fact that we’ve never seen an increase in the senators’ money for their salaries from $12,000, and the governor’s cutting everybody’s budget, the lobby seems to be doing very well.”
Gould says it’s easy to see why many former senators go to work as lobbyists.
Common Cause lists 21 of them who now work as lobbyists.
The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce spent the most on lobbying in 2017, totalling $242,198.
Gould says it is hard to have a level playing field with that kind of money.
“When the lobby is able to wine and dine and entertain, and when they’re able to provide campaign money and hold campaign fundraisers, they suddenly have better access,” he says.
The League of Municipalities spent the second largest amount on lobbying last year, $184,832.
The Common Cause report shows the University of Nebraska funds the largest lobbying force.
It is followed by the 17 school districts that have their own lobbyist.
“They suddenly have better access, and they certainly can gain more influence by being a facilitator for campaign money, for entertainment, and so forth,” Gould says.
You can see the full report HERE.
Jane Monnich, KLIN in Lincoln, contributed to this report.