CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the 2014 legislative session just beginning to pick up momentum -- and it didn't help that the House of Delegates decided to drop and cover for days during the water crisis -- we now have final numbers on what the more than 300 registered lobbyists spent on legislators and state officials in calendar year 2013.
The total: $395,478, including $70,741 spent in the third reporting period, from September through December, according to disclosures filed with the state Ethics Commission.
Much of the "third-quarter" spending was in the form of campaign contributions, topped by $12,200 by Christina Cameron and $10,250 by Paul Hardesty.
Others with notable amounts of contributions were the Chamber of Commerce's Steve Roberts, $2,600; Phil Reale, $1,600; Mark Polen, $1,450; Tom Heywood, $1,450; Tom Susman, $1,243; and Larry Swann, $1,200.
(Lobbyists need not disclose individual contributions on the Ethics disclosures, presumably since the info will appear on candidates' campaign spending filed with the Secretary of State. However, Jackson Kelly attorney Timothy Huffman, who lobbies primarily for coal and insurance companies, designated that his $800 contribution went to Evan Jenkins for Congress.)
Though nothing like the legislative session, there are a few receptions and dinners in the off-season.
Topping the latest list was the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, which hosted seven legislative dinners and receptions around the state at a total cost of $14,477, or $99.85 per person with 145 attendees. That included a total of 49 legislators, at a cost of $4,892.
The "tour" hit Martinsburg Nov. 7, Morgantown Nov. 13, Parkersburg Nov. 14, Wheeling Dec. 3, Elkins Dec. 4, Huntington Dec. 5, and Charleston on Dec. 12.
That was followed by a West Virginia AFL-CIO reception at the Civic Center on Oct. 23, at a cost of $11,216 for 300 participants. Among them were nine government officials, including Sens. Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, and Donald Cookman, D-Hampshire; Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha; Auditor Glen Gainer; Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman; Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy; and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.
Also, Chesapeake Energy reported spending $6,110 for Marshall's Capitol Classic pre-game reception at the Civic Center on Dec. 14. They reported 200 attended, at a cost of $30.55 each, including seven government officials, at $213.85.