Sunday, February 25, 2007

Play Find the Lobbyist

The St Petersburg Times has an interesting article on how difficult it is to look up lobbyists. Pages are scanned and not printed in text. Which makes it harder for a search engine to register. Lobbyists fees are filed under the firm they work for. There is no mention of the actual lobbyist in the report.

Lobbyists register by name - but fee reports are filed by law firm and alphabetized by the first name or initial of the law firm. Take lobbyist Ken Plante. You'll find his disclosure form under G. He works for Governmental Solutions LLC.

You would have to know that's where he works because there is no online index to look up what firm a lobbyist works for.

The system has been like this since 2005. I don't see the Florida legislature considering this a burning issue. We can expect outdated internet records on lobbyists for quite sometime. And people wonder why Florida has horrible voting machine problems. Government neglect is the answer to the former and latter.

Update: Lobbyists made an estimated $200 million in Florida in 2006.


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