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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lobbyist Treats Include Hermann Wines to House Republicans

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Lobbyist treats: Summer wine, birthday cigars and a wedding gift

BY JAKE WAGMAN
post-dispatch.com
September 14, 2011
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ST. LOUIS • Summer is the time that lawmakers are supposed to get away from Jefferson City and the lobbyists who walk the Capitol's marbled halls.
But even when the Legislature is not in session, the state's corporate influence peddlers are on the clock.
The monthly report of lobbyist expenditures for July, released Thursday, shows lawmakers and other Missouri public officials received more than $40,000 in freebies from those seeking to sway public policy.
Highlights include $158 in cigars purchased for State Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, by Microsoft through their Missouri lobbyist, William Shoehigh. The cigars, according to the Ethics Commission report, were for Lembke's "50th birthday event in St. Louis." He turned the big five-o on July 24.
The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association paid $3,200 to fly three state senators — Republicans Eric Schmitt, Tom Dempsey and Rob Mayer — to West Plains, Mo. and back.
The RCGA has been lobbying hard for the General Assembly to approve tax credits for a China cargo hub at Lambert Field, though whether that has anything to do with West Plains, about 20 miles from the Arkansas border, is unclear.
Closer to home, an RCGA lobbyist spent $125 on an unspecified wedding gift for Kit Crancer, chief of staff to State Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield.
House Republicans enjoyed a case of wine from the lobbying firm of Franc Flotron, whose clients include wineries in Hermann and St. James. Meanwhile, Noranda Aluminum — which has been fighting an attempt to hike utility rates —spent $476 on Noranda t-shirts for the entire General Assembly. (The wine was probably a bigger hit.)

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1 comment:

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