Lobbyists spent record amount of $725K last year - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lobbyists spent record amount of $725K last year

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Records from the Tennessee Ethics Commission show organizations lobbying the state Legislature spent a record $725,000 on 96 "wining and dining" events for lawmakers last year.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1z9yXqu) reports that the 2014 spending - precisely $724,982 - compares to $650,873 in spending a year earlier and $565,318 in 2012.

Under a law enacted in 2006 during a special legislative session on governmental ethics, lobbyists and their employers are generally prohibited from making gifts to legislators.

But there are exceptions, including events to which all members of the Legislature are invited.

In those cases, the amount spent could not exceed $50 per person in 2006, although there is a cost-of-living adjustment for each legislative session. For the 109th General Assembly, which begins this year, the limit is $59 per person, up about $1 from the previous session.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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