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Lobbyist Expenditure Information

Navigating our Search Page

First, select the year you want to search. Then, the category of the search (statewide officials, Senate members, House members, groups, lobbyists or clients -- see below for details of the categories).

Once a category for the search as been selected, the selection-box to the right will be filled, in alphabetical order, with all the different names found for expenditure reports filed under the category you selected. The names in the list box will be simplified and combined to facilitate search selecitons (see below).

Once you have selected a specific entry (official, group, lobbyist or client) all the expenditure reports in which that selection was found will be displayed at the top.

If you would like to see the actual fields of the Missouri Ethics Commission expenditure report, simply double click the item of interest.

At the bottom of the category list will be a Seek option that lets you enter a name or part of a name for which a search will be conducted for both the official field and the recipient field of each record.

This search function is provided for those two fields because of the wide disparity in how lobbyists identify local officials and government officials who are not employees of government officials. It prevents creating the type of lists available for other categories.

Background

MDN's databases on lobbyist expenditure reports are constructed from information filed by lobbyists with the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC).

Each expenditure report includes the amount expended, the date the expenditure was made, the actual recipient (if not the public official) and an explanation of the expenditure.

Thousands of reports expenditures are filed each year by nearly thousand registered lobbyists. There is no independent verification of the information reported. And here, at MDN, we have discovered quite a few errors.

Programs used to construct MDN's database seek to correct those errors, when possible and to provide consistency in the names of the public officials listed. In some cases, fields have been combined to make the MDN display more user friendly. See the Notes section below for details.

MDN's data covers lobbyist expenditures for elected state officials (statewide office holders and legislators) as well as legislative groups. Between 20 to 30 percent of lobbyist expenditures go to others such as unelected government and and local officials.

Unfortunately, many of these entries provide little or no information about the governmental entity nor the recipient's governmental unit. Some have just a name without a clue as to the governmental agency or the recipient's position.

Data Fields

Display Functions at the Bottom

View the Entire MEC Report

To view the full report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission for a particular entry, simply double-click the entry.

That will pop up a display of every field in MEC's database for a lobbyist expenditure -- 14 fields for individual public official expenditures or 13 fields for group expenditures -- in the order in which they appear in MEC's database:

Notes

  1. It is difficult to exaggerate the nightmare one encounters in trying to bring order to the thousands of separate expenditure reports filed by lobbyists. Often legislators are listed under the generic "Public Official" category rather than the correct "Representative" or "Senator" category. Even worse, the recipient named in a report sometimes is different from the public official's actual name. Occasionally names are misspelled. Less frequently, we've encountered entries that appear to be an attempt to hide the actual public official recipient by simply citing the district number rather than the required name or just citing a last name with no first name or title of the official.

  2. One complexity in making sense of the lobbyist expenditure reports is the wide variety of ways lobbyists would identify the same client for whom an expenditure was made.

    Some client names were misspelled. The misspellings and incorrect wording for clients names suprised us since these lobbyists are being paid by those companies. You'd think they'd get the names of their clients correct. Some expenditures used an improper company name, followed by some sort of DBA ending (meaning "doing business as").

    Our MDN database application groups under a common name when the actual client is obvious. For example, "AMEREN" is displayed as the client for expenditures listed under "UNION ELECTRIC." For apparent typos in a client name, we went on line to make sure the incorrect name did not actually exist.

    The ranking display of expenditures by clients and the drop-down list of clients use those shorter, corrected names. But in the display of individual expenditures, name under client will be MDN's corrected name followed by what actually was entered by the lobbyist as the client.

  3. At MDN we have written literally hundreds of lines of code to attempt to include for a public official every lobbyist expenditure reported for that official when the recipient is obvious. But, in the spirit of journalism, we have not included under a public official's lobbyist expenditures any entry for which the public official is not absolutely clear. In other words, we've followed the basic standard of journalism -- "if in doubt, don't report it."

  4. Several times, we at MDN have discovered a lobbyist expenditure reported on behalf of a legislator who had left office one or more years earlier. Those reports are included, but it is impossible to tell if the expenditure actually was made on behalf of the legislator who replaced the person in the report or the expenditure actually was for the person named, although since the person had left office no lobbyist expenditure report was required.

  5. In even-numbered years, MEC maintains lobbyist expenditure reports for legislators elected to office in November, but who will not take office until January of the next year. These reports are not included in MDN's display for public officials since, technically, they are not public officials until they take office.

  6. In addition to expenditures made for specific public officials, a lobbyist can list a legislative group as the recipient. It can be a committee, caucus or the entire General Assembly. Unfortunately, these group reports do not indicate which legislators actually eat the meals or accepted the gifts. One year, for example, an out-of-state trip which listed the entire legislature as the group whose travel costs were covered by the lobbyist, only a few lawmakers actually took the trip.

 

 

To display a list of lobbyist expenditures

• Year: Select the year to search (the default year initially selected)
• Category: Select the category for your search (gov't officials, lobbyists, etc.)
• Get: Select from the list the entry to search -then the list of entries meeting your criteria will be displayed here


Year:  Category:   Get: