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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

They spend it because they have it

The best government money can buy:

Companies, organizations and even government groups spent more than $25.6 million lobbying Indiana's lawmakers in this year's legislative session.

And that number, said Indiana Lobby Registration Commission director Sarah Nagy, likely will grow as late and amended lobbying reports dribble in.

By the time all the expenses -- including tickets to professional sports games and meals at Downtown restaurants -- are tallied, it likely will exceed the $26 million that lobbyists spent in 2008 and again in 2009, Nagy said.

The Star included a nifty little database with its story so you can check out how much your favorite lobbyist gave and how much your favorite legislator received.

Best quote in the story:

Julia Vaughn, who lobbies for ethics reforms for Common Cause/Indiana, said the public perception may be that lobbying dollars are chiefly spent currying favor with influential lawmakers. But, she said, "the culture has become just so wide-open and free-wheeling that sometimes it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They spend it because they can, and they don't have to report a whole lot."