MEA tops lobbyist spending list

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Education Association spent nearly $292,000 on lobbying in Lansing in the first seven months of 2010, up 22 percent from a year ago, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. The release said that the teachers union was the top-spending interest group.

Multi-client lobbyist firms, such as Governmental Consultant Services Inc., spent more overall, but are not required to report how much they spend on individual clients, the release said.

Reports do not indicate which legislation, spending or regulations each lobbyist is trying to affect, according to the news release. Lobbyists also are not required to report expenditures that directly benefit officeholders unless that spending meets threshold requirements, the release said.

For example, loans or sales between lobbyists and officeholders do not have to be reported unless they exceed $1,100, according to the Campaign Finance Network, and travel and lodging provided to officeholders for "official business" doesn't have to be reported unless the value exceeds $725.

Michigan Campaign Finance Network, "Lobbyists report spending $17.8M through July," Oct. 7, 2010

Michigan Capitol Confidential, "Lawmaker lobbies against lobbyist," Aug. 12, 2010