Lobbyist spending on Missouri lawmakers drops 94% after cap

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Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Lobbyist spending in Missouri has dropped by 94% since voters approved a $5 cap on lawmaker gifts last year.

A KCUR analysis of state data concludes that lobbyists spent less than $17,000 on lawmakers in this year’s legislative session compared with last year’s spending of about $300,000.

Peverill Squire, a University of Missouri political science professor, says financial gifts don’t buy votes, but they can buy lawmakers’ effort and time.

Squire says most of the spending is on larger events that all lawmakers can attend, which adheres to the cap rule.

Kelly Gillespie, a lobbyist who heads Missouri Biotech Association, says the new rules limit educational possibilities. Gillespie’s group funded a program last year to teach lawmakers about drug discovery and health care affordability. That is no longer an option.

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