Report reveals lobbyist compensation increased for more than half of top 10 firms
Today, Common Cause Nebraska released its annual report detailing the state’s lobbying activity. The report, “Lobbyist Spending: Nebraska’s Other Pandemic Thrives During COVID-19,” found that while gross lobbying expenditures dropped in 2020, lobbyist compensation increased for more than half of the state’s top ten firms. The company spending the most on lobbying in 2020 was Altria Client Services (Phillip Morris), spending $218,685, $91,500 of which went to support state political campaigns. The company’s five-year total of lobbying spending, $1,035,168, was the highest in the state.
“While the pandemic slowed life down in 2020 for most Nebraskans, it was business as usual for many of the state’s lobbyists,” said Gavin Geis, Executive Director of Common Cause Nebraska. “Our report found that half of the state’s top lobbying firms saw an increase in pay and continued wining and dining state legislators while many Nebraskans struggled to put food on the table during the pandemic. We continue to maintain a watchful eye over money in politics and it’s important to shine a bright light on the pay-to-play system that drowns out the voices of everyday Nebraskans.”
The report found lobbyists racked up $74,576 in food and beverage expenses for Nebraska state legislators during the pandemic, not shown on state legislators’ individual gift reports. The report also totaled $83,307,993 in lobbyist compensation over the last five years and found that the highest-paid firm, Mueller/Robak, earned $1,353,593 in 2020, $1,341,593 more than state legislators, who earn $12,000 annually.
To view the full report, click here.