Thursday, January 26, 2012

Party Time!

As I do periodically during a session, I checked the first batch of lobbyist reports yesterday  to see who is throwing parties, hosting dinners and paying for meals for legislators during the session.

Just a few have come in so far. My story about that is HERE.

There's one thing this year that's more difficult in looking up these reports in the past. The Secretary of State's Office has changed systems. In the old days (up to the 2011 regular session) you could just go over to the office and go through a stack of paper reports.

But now it's all automated. No more paper. The good news is there will be no more errors based on lobbyist penmanship. The bad news is, while all the reports are now online at the Secretary of State's Campaign Finance site , there's no quick way to search for the 48-hour reports (the reports lobbyists have to file during a session within two days of making an expenditure more than $500.)

Thus, unearthing the information requires the help of SOS staff. I was able to find a few of the reports on my own Tuesday (including the golf passes given to legislators), but the SOS staff yesterday located a couple more that I'd missed.

I'm hoping that they update the website -- which is very helpful with finding campaign finance reports and other stuff -- so that you can go directly to the 48-hour reports.