AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Doctor lobby files lawmaker expenses, 14 months late

The Medical Association of Georgia finally disclosed what it spent on lawmakers attending the group's July 2013 coastal meeting after being contacted last week by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

MAG's report, filed 14 months after the event, showed it spent $2,674 on lodging and meals for five lawmakers. The association called its lack of disclosure last year "an oversight."

The AJC got in touch with MAG, a powerful force at the Capitol, as part of a story on how spending on beachfront conventions and conferences has actually gone up since the General Assembly passed an "ethics reform" bill last year. Lobbyists spent more than $100,000 on lawmakers attending their conferences, conventions and meetings this summer, mostly at resorts along the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts.

MAG had its "legislative update" at the Jekyll Island Club, with about 20 legislators in attendance. The organization spent close to $10,000 housing and feeding lawmakers.

The group had a similar event last year - with fewer lawmakers - but reported spending nothing for it at the time. Under state law, lobbyists file reports with the ethics commission on what they spend. But some lobbyists have failed to disclose what they spend on conventions. Until contacted by the AJC, that is.



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About the Author

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.