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Lobbyists’ freebies become harder to track in Missouri

ST. LOUIS (AP) — It’s becoming harder to track how much money is being spent to catch the ear of Missouri lawmakers as they increasingly reimburse lobbyists for freebies.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that reimbursing lobbyists for meals and sports tickets keeps lawmakers names off lobbyists’ monthly expense reports.

The reimbursements have been questioned when campaign funds are used to pay back lobbyists. That’s because state law says campaign contributions “shall not be converted to any personal use.”

But campaign finance law also says money can be spent on “ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the duties of a holder of elective office.” Also permitted are “expenses associated with the duties of candidacy or of elective office pertaining to the entertaining of or providing social courtesies to constituents, professional associations, or other holders of elective office.”

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