-By Kathleen Galligan
January 16, 2013- Lobbying is normal in the course of public business, but when the government lobbies itself, the practice can involve taxpayer resources used to pursue a political agenda.
Like expanding a state-run district that manages underachieving schools.
Restructuring a major health care insurer.
Or enacting right to work.
A Lansing State Journal analysis showed $556,000 in taxpayer money was used by state government agencies to lobby the Michigan Legislature in 2012.
State officials from various departments said the money equates to staff time spent advancing the interests of those agencies and, more broadly, the policy agenda of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
“There’s nothing insidious here. There’s no wining and dining of lawmakers,” Snyder spokesman Kurt Weiss said. “It’s listening to hearings at the Capitol, talking with lawmakers. Every administration has a staff that does that.”
The half-million dollars reportedly spent on lobbying by state departments last year is the highest figure reported since 2001, the earliest year for which reports are available online through the secretary of state’s office.