The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Your Tax Dollars Pay Lobbyists to Make Government Even Bigger

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During the past few weeks, several localities across the state have announced plans to hire lobbyists to petition the state and federal government for more money. Such lobbying, the unfortunate byproduct of government-driven economics, is unproductive, wasteful, and in some ways, deceptive.

A Policy Council report released today investigates the scope of taxpayer funded lobbying on South Carolina, and offers solutions for meaningful reform.

According to the South Carolina Ethics Commission, 90 lobbyists were employed in some capacity by taxpayer funded entities during the first half of 2009—at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1.54 million. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Lobbyists are only required to report fees used to promote or oppose legislation “through direct communication with public officials or public employees.” That means fees for other services, including time spent drafting a bill, conducting legal research, or crafting legislative strategies, do not need to be disclosed.

The idea that taxpayer funded lobbying is wrong isn’t lost on government: in 2003 Governor Mark Sanford took a first step by banning cabinet agencies from hiring lobbyists, and a  number of states have enacted laws banning or restricting the practice. But there is currently no law in South Carolina restricting state entities from hiring lobbyists.

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Written by SC Policy Council

December 1, 2009 at 9:53 am

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