The Buzz

Lots of gifts -- food, baseball tickets, trips -- flowed to Missouri lawmakers this session

Updated: 2013-07-09T14:22:51Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Lobbyists in Jefferson City once again were in a giving mood this year as they purchased more than $750,000 worth of gifts for state lawmakers.

Food, tickets, travel. All of that, and more, was forked over during the course of the 2013 legislative session, according to records compiled by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Now, why would lobbyists do such a thing? Why would they spend three-quarters of a million dollars to treat lawmakers so well? Of course it wouldn’t have anything to do with getting them to pass certain bills or kill others...right?

Lawmakers, almost to a person, insist the gift-giving has no impact on their thought process. They say all those nice things have no impact on how they vote. But lobbyists clearly think that spending three-quarters of a million dollars is a wise investment.

One more point: The vast bulk of the gift-giving is food. But lawmakers already receive a $104-a-day per diem for food and housing during the session.

So, to be clear, if lawmakers can eat for free courtesy of a lobbyist, they can pocket some of that $104. Lobbyists, then, are essentially sticking money straight into the pockets of the right honorables.

That point shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

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