Spending by Lansing lobbyists seeking to influence politics rose by 6% in the last election, reaching a record of $34,075,809.
At the top of the list were six multi-client firms. These firms are not required to disclose spending or their client lists:
“While multi-client firms report their overall spending and name their list of active clients, they are not required to report how much they spent in representing their individual clients. Therefore, what is disclosed gives a limited picture of what was spent by whom, and for what issues.”
Similarly, other shortfalls in Michigan’s lobbying law prevent further disclosure:
“A lobbyist’s spending for travel and accommodations for a public official doesn’t have to be reported unless it exceeds $700. A lobbyist’s food and beverage spending for a public official isn’t reported unless it exceeds $53 in a month or $325 for a calendar year. Gifts, such as tickets for entertainment, are not reported as long as they are less than $53 in a month.”
Overall, while the numbers show us that there are significant amounts of money being spent to influence state politics, citizens are not able to find out exactly how that process is functioning due to limits in state law.