Opinion Columns & Blogs

O’Donnell leads delegation in lobbyist wining, dining

O’Donnell The Wichita Eagle

According to Hawver’s Capitol Report, six members of the south-central Kansas legislative delegation cracked the top 25 for lobbyist-paid food and drink consumption for 2014. Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, came in fourth with $2,562; ahead of Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita ($2,509, in sixth place); Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover ($2,157, in eighth place); Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita ($2,149, in ninth place); Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita ($1,593, in 17th place); and Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie ($1,388, in 23rd place). The winner of Hawver’s Golden Fork Award was Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe, on whom lobbyists spent $4,057 for food and drink last year. The figures, taken from lobbyists’ reports to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, tell only part of the story because they count “specific spending by lobbyists on legislators,” according to Hawver’s. “If legislators attend food/beverage events where all legislators, or an identifiable group of legislators, are invited, lobbyists don’t have to keep track by name of the hospitality recipients.” Not surprisingly, given how Republicans rule in the Legislature, the first Democrat shows up on the list in 39th place – Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, Kan., with $1,148. – Rhonda Holman