One of my biggest pet peeves that I have yet to write about is this – I hate tax-payer funded lobbying with a passion. I don’t understand why the Iowa Legislature doesn’t address this. Invariably when ever I, as a private citizen, have engaged in grassroots lobbying I tend to always find these people working against me being paid from our taxes.

Here are (some of) the offenders along with the number of registered lobbyists they have at the statehouse. This information can also be found here.

  • Alcoholic Beverages Division – 2
  • Area Education Agencies of Iowa – 2
  • Iowa State Auditor – 1
  • Broadlawns Medical Center (Polk County’s Public Hospital) – 6
  • Cedar Rapids Airport – 1
  • City of Ames – 1
  • City of Cedar Falls – 1
  • City of Cedar Rapids – 3
  • City of Coralville – 3
  • City of Des Moines – 5
  • City of Dubuque – 3
  • City of Iowa City – 1
  • City of Waukee – 3
  • City of West Des Moines – 3
  • Clarke County Reservoir Commission – 1
  • Iowa Department of Administrative Services – 1
  • Des Moines Area Community College – 1
  • Des Moines Area International Airport – 5
  • Des Moines Public Schools – 2
  • Des Moines Water Works – 9
  • Eastern Iowa Community College District – 2
  • Governor’s Office  – 1
  • Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy – 2 (one is the director)
  • Hawkeye Community College – 2
  • Indian Hills Community College – 1
  • Iowa Attorney General – 2
  • Iowa Board of Educational Examiners – 3
  • Iowa Board of Medicine – 1
  • Iowa Board of Nursing – 3
  • Iowa Board of Parole – 3
  • Iowa Board of Pharmacy – 1
  • Iowa Central Community College – 5
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission – 2
  • Iowa College Student Aid Commission – 2
  • Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service – 1
  • Iowa Communications Network – 2
  • Iowa Dental Board – 2
  • Iowa Department for the Blind – 1
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture – 1
  • Iowa Department of Corrections – 2
  • Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs – 1
  • Iowa Department of Education – 9
  • Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals – 2 (one is the director)
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources – 2
  • Iowa Department of Public Defense – 2
  • Iowa Department of Public Health – 2
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety – 1
  • Iowa Department of Revenue & Finance – 1
  • Iowa Department of Transportation – 2
  • Iowa Department on Aging – 3
  • Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board – 2
  • Iowa Insurance Division – 5
  • Iowa Judicial Branch – 3
  • Iowa Lottery Authority – 2
  • Iowa Public Television – 2
  • Iowa State Fair – 5
  • Iowa State Treasurer’s Office – 2
  • Iowa Utilities Board – 4
  • Iowa Valley Community College District – 2
  • Iowa Western Community College – 3
  • Iowa Workforce Development – 3
  • IPERS – 1
  • Juvenile Detention Coalition of Iowa – 2
  • Kirkwood Community College – 2
  • Linn County Board of Supervisors – 3
  • North Iowa Community College – 2
  • Northeast Iowa Community College – 3
  • Northwest Iowa Community College – 2
  • Office of Consumer Advocate – 2
  • Office of Ombudsman – 2
  • Office of Polk County Treasurer – 1
  • Office of Chief Information Officer – 1
  • Polk County Board of Supervisors – 4
  • Public Employment Relations Board – 1
  • South Western Community College – 8
  • Southeastern Community College – 1
  • Western Iowa Tech Community College – 2

It’s not difficult to see why the budget keeps growing year after year. A couple clarifications…. I understand why municipalities and school districts would have lobbyists as they need to keep watch for unfunded mandates that the state likes to place on them. That said they do have associations they are a part of that lobbies on their behalf so isn’t that overkill? I also understand that a number of these lobbyists are just under contract to lobby and are not full-time employees.  Also, I recognize that the state department and agency lobbyists (legislative liaisons) don’t lobby year round and have other duties.

My opinion is that, at the very least, the Iowa executive branch departments and agencies should not have lobbyists. Sure they need to have people who can go answer questions during subcommittee and committee hearings, but they should not be allowed to lobby for or against bills.  Ultimately the Governor is their advocate as he can veto or sign legislation (perhaps they need to lobby him).

Instead “we the people,” who have very few lobbying on our behalf, get fleeced by taxpayer-funded lobbyists who ask for more taxpayer money on behalf of their taxpayer-funded department or agency.

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