Tax Dollars (Lots of Them) Pay For Lobbying By State Agencies
The Lansing State Journal headline is a grabber: "Michigan government spent $556K to lobby itself."
That 2012 spending by state departments is the highest since 2001, reporter Kristen M. Daum reports.
When the government lobbies itself, the practice can involve taxpayer resources used to pursue a political agenda. Like expanding a state-run district that manages underachieving schools, restructuring a major health care insurer or enacting right to work. . . .
Officials from various departments said the money equates to staff time spent advancing the interests of those agencies and, more broadly, the policy agenda of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
“There’s nothing insidious here. There’s no wining and dining of lawmakers,” Snyder spokesman Kurt Weiss said. “It’s listening to hearings at the Capitol, talking with lawmakers. Every administration has a staff that does that."
Insidious or not, Daum notes that "salaries of legislative liaisons or government affairs aides come out of departmental budgets, which makes the state’s lobbying practices a taxpayer expense."