Nebraska Legislative Lobbying Pay Exceeds $20 Million | Regional government
Compensation for lobbyists in the Nebraska Legislature in 2021 approached $21 million, Common Cause Nebraska reported Thursday in its annual survey of lobbying activities on Capitol Hill.
The 2021 figure of $20,789,181 in lobbying expenditures to influence state government exceeded the 2020 figure by more than $2 million.
Common Cause titled its report “The Pay to Play Express: Nebraska’s Runaway Lobbying Train”.
Paid lobbyists with legislative clients totaled 366 in 2021, down slightly to 336 this year, according to the report.
Once again, Mueller Robak led the way among lobbying firms with total compensation of $1,645,683 in 2021.
Rounding out the top four: Radcliffe and Associates, $1,340,799; O’Hara Lindsay, $903,276; Peetz and Co., $827,100.
Among the biggest spenders were Altria Client Services, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, the League of Nebraska Municipalities, the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, the Nebraska Bankers Association and the Nebraska County Officials Association.
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The university tops the list of 2021 lobbying expenses at $180,065.
Omaha topped the list of public school lobbying expenses at $97,700 with Lincoln at $21,600.
Common Cause said 16 former senators are listed as legislative lobbyists.
“When it comes to political campaign contributions, Nebraska is truly the Wild West,” the report said.
“In 2012, when Nebraska’s Campaign Finance Limitation Act was declared unconstitutional, we lost all control,” said Jack Gould, chair of issues for Common Cause Nebraska.
“Nebraska has no contribution limit for PACs, corporations, principals, lobbyists or even individuals.
“When Governor (Pete) Ricketts wants to support a candidate or oppose a vote, he can contribute $10,000 or $25,000 or more without batting an eyelid.”
In the 2018 election cycle, Gould said, “48 candidates spent $6,489,464 for 24 unicameral seats that pay $12,000 a year.”
“You have to wonder how important that $20 contribution from the average citizen really is to our public servants,” Gould said.
Photos: The Nebraska State Capitol through the years
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