Lobbying. Legislative Ethics Commission


Lobbying companies gave six-figure contributions to underwrite the costs for Kentucky to host the Southern Legislative Conference annual convention.

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission says three groups that lobby the legislature gave at least $100,000 to sponsor the convention. Those groups were the Keeneland race track, the Kentucky Distillers Association and LG&E and KU Energy. About 1,500 state legislators and staff attended the conference from 15 southern states.

Although such contributions are legal and not unusual not everyone agrees with the practice. Chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky, Richard Beliles, says the donations buy access to legislators.

Businesses and other groups could set a new spending record for lobbying Frankfort lawmakers this year. Legislative Ethics Commission attorney John Schaaf says more than $13 million has been spent already this year. He projected the total could top $17 million by year's end. That would be slightly more than the $16.9 million spent in 2008.