1:32 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Ethics Panel Wants Lobbyists to Report Ad Spending

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission is recommending that state lawmakers require organizations that employ lobbyists to report what they spend on advertising to promote or defeat specific bills.

That proposal is among five the commission is suggesting the General Assembly consider next year.

John Schaaf is legal counsel to the LEC. He told a legislative committee that it’s a response to a new form of lobbying conducted mostly by businesses that make and sell drugs.

The Consumer Health Products Association, he says, has been practicing it for about two years.

"Since 2010, since that regular session, that single entity has spent about $1 million lobbying alone. This is just what they had reported. But it also appears, partly because of something they reported to us that they weren’t legally required to report, they spent a lot more than that on advertising," Schaaf told lawmakers.

Just as current law requires reporting of all expenses related to direct lobbying, Schaaf says the ethics commission also believes advertising that supports or opposes specific legislation should be revealed as well.