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General Assembly Turns Eye Toward Executive Lobbying

Josh James
A view of the Kentucky Capitol on December 18, 2018.

Lobbyists who train their attention on the executive branch, rather than the legislative, would receive increased scrutiny under a new bill introduced by Senate President Robert Stivers. 

From Operation Boptrot, an early 90s FBI investigation that netted 22 lawmakers, lobbyists, and others, to the sweeping ethics reforms that followed, Kentuckians are all-too-familiar with corruption of the legislative variety.

But what about lobbying efforts in the executive branch?

That’s an area Sen. Robert Stivers says deserves a deeper dive. He recently told reporters he was surprised by the lack of executive branch lobbying oversight revealed in the case of Tim Longmeyer, a former deputy to the attorney general who pleaded guilty to bribery.

"This is so much more behind-the-scenes than anything we do in the legislative process," Stivers said. "And make no doubt, I have no indications that anything like that is going on in this administration. It's just what I saw and it shocked me." 

Stivers says is goal is to usher in greater transparency.

The Manchester Republican’s measure, Senate Bill 6, seeks to bring lobbying rules in the executive branch into alignment with those in the legislative. It promises to "require disclosure of executive agency lobbyist compensation" and "prohibit executive agency lobbyist compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded."

Legislative lobbying spending has steadily climbed every year since 1993, except for the four year stretch following the 2008 market crash. 

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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