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Politics

Disclosure reports vastly underestimate the amount of money spent on lobbying, according to report

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Money spent on lobbying could be more than twice what groups have to disclose, according to a new report.

The report, from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, found that groups only disclosed a fraction of the money they spent on lobbying.

The Network sent Freedom of Information Act requests to several public institutions to find out what they spent on lobbying.

Craig Mauger is with the Network. He said legally groups only need to disclose funds used for what the state identifies as “communicating directly” with a lawmaker.

“Groups are putting these disclosures out that say ‘this is what we’re spending on lobbying’ but what’s really happening is in many cases groups are paying lobbying a lot more than that to look out for their interests in Lansing.”

Mauger said there’s little oversight of the reporting process.

“There’s not a lot of oversight to make sure these reports are accurate. There’s been close to 200 million dollars spent on disclosed lobbying in the last five years and there have only been two reports filed about reports being incorrect or improper.”

Mauger said there’s no way to know what’s actually being spent by groups on lobbying.

But, he said, the public should know how much money is being used to influence public policy.