Monday, February 27, 2012

ALEC meetings, steak dinners, and Mississippi legislators

In an earlier post, I mentioned that ALEC had its 2011 meetings in Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Scottsdale.  While studying AT&T's 2011 lobbying report, I noticed that AT&T didn't pay much for Rep. Jim Beckett (R - Bruce) and his wife to eat while they were at the ALEC meetings in New Orleans and Cincinnati.

Figuring that ALEC probably didn't want Rep. Beckett paying his own way, I started looking around for ALEC member companies who might have picked up the tab. I figured right.

Turns out that ALEC Private Enterprise Board member Bayer wound up picking up the check for Rep. Beckett at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in Cincinnati during the ALEC meeting there.  But Rep. Beckett wasn't alone at this meal.  Turns out that Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden (R - Meridian) ate on Bayer's tab, as did Rep. Jim Ellington (R - Raymond) and Sen. Walter Michel (R - Jackson).  Neither Ellington nor Michel are in the Legislature anymore, Ellington having been defeated by Rep. Brad Oberhausen (D - Raymond) and Michel having retired.  (Sen. Will Longwitz, R - Madison, now holds Michel's seat.)  The total for the meal was $125.20.  (Either nobody ordered steak, or somebody split the bill with Bayer.)  You can review the Bayer lobbying report here.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a member of ALEC Private Enterprise Board member PhRMA, picked up the check at swanky New Orleans restaurant Calcasieu during the August ALEC meeting, spending $281 on food & drink for Sen. Joey Fillingane (R - Sumrall), Sen. Lydia Chassaniol (R - Winona), Sen. Michael Watson (R - Pascagoula), Sen. Buck Clarke (R - Hollandale), and Sen. Walter Michel (R - Jackson).

Novartis also bought dinner for Sens. Watson and Michel at Eddie V's in Scottsdale, but this time added newly-elected Senators Sally Doty (R - Brookhaven) and Josh Harkins (R - Flowood) to the party.  Novartis claims they paid a total of $90.16 for dinner for the foursome, which seems low when you look at Eddie V's dinner menu.  Again, I'm assuming some other company split the bill on this one.

You can review Novartis Pharmaceuticals' 2011 lobbying report here.

Unrelated to an ALEC convention, I also found where ALEC Private Enterprise Board member Koch Companies Public Sector (the Koch brothers) bought dinner for now-Speaker Philip Gunn (R - Clinton), Rep. Beckett, Rep. Mac Huddleston (R - Pontotoc), Rep. Scott Bounds (R - Philadelphia), and Rep. Bobby Shows (R - Ellisville) at Tico's Steakhouse in Jackson on January 31, 2011 for a total of $260.25.  You can review the Koch 2011 lobbying report here.

More to come...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bought and paid for, I see, Mississippi Republican members of the Mississippi State Legislature. My daddy had a word for people like this among us, it started with these letters: who**