Lobbying Nebraska Officials Topped $20 Million in 2021

April 28, 2022, midnight ·

Part of the cover of Common Cause Nebraska lobbying report
Part of the cover of Common Cause Nebraska lobbying report

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A new report says lobbying Nebraska state government was more than a $20 million business last year.

The report is the latest by the government watchdog group Common Cause Nebraska. It documents ways in which the group says people with paid lobbyists have an advantage over ordinary citizens when it comes to influencing officials. Jack Gould, issues chair for Common Cause, objects to the fact that lobbyists can also make campaign contributions to senators while the Legislature is in session. Gould referred to Billy’s, a popular restaurant near the Capitol.

“Everybody knows about going out and having lunch with the lobby or drinks down at Billy’s or whatever. They’ve been doing this for years and people think ‘Well, that’s lobbying.’ But they can take them out for lunch and then follow it up with a check for their campaign. And that in itself is more effective probably than the lunch at Billy’s,” Gould said.

The report says Nebraska is one of only 22 states that have no restrictions on fundraisers during the session.