Thursday, May 23, 2013


While the topic of ethics is still of interest, I thought I'd take a look at the list of folks who registered as lobbyists with the City of Indianapolis.

In 2010, 56 individuals signed up - employed by 32 different companies or firms, representing 72 entities.

In 2011, 36 individuals, with 16 different employers, represented 62 entities.

In 2012, the numbers were 44 individuals, 23 employers, represented 66 entities.

As of today, the 2013 year has 19 individuals, employed by 8 companies or firms, represent 27 entities.  The year is young and the budget season has not yet begun, which likely explains the drop from previous years.

It may not surprise you to learn that this year 6 individuals, employed by Ice Miller, represent only one client - the Pacers.  The Democratic power couple, Carl Drummer and Lacy Johnson, are two of those 6.  Any predictions on how the Democrat controlled Council will vote on the CIB  sending even more taxpayer dollars over to the Simons later this year?

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has but one person shilling for them. 

Curious is the apparent need of some not for profit groups to hire lobbyists, rather than drag their own arses over to City Hall to make their own case.  For instance, this year Frank Short is representing Visit Indy, Indianapolis Downtown Inc., and the Marion County Recorder.  Of course, all three want the flow of tax dollars to continue their way, but why not save some of those tax dollars and speak for yourself?  In previous years Wayne Township and the Town of Fishers also hired lobbyists for one reason or another, to implore some governmental group in Marion County.

Another oddity, is the double duty some are pulling.  Bob Grand, through Barnes & Thornburg, works as a consultant to the Mayor, and simultaneously represents his own lobbying clients.  So, too have B&T lawyers Joe Loftus and Bruce Donaldson pulled double duty in past years.

Jennifer Ping lobbies for Bose Public Affairs Group on behalf of a few clients, among which she lobbies the MDC for AON Consulting.  Ping's husband, Tim Ping, sits on the MDC.  Although I expect he recuses himself when anything related to AON Consulting comes to a vote, wouldn't it all be simpler if someone else at Bose took on that particular client?

Towing companies seem a bit over represented, considering how few entities are actually noted in the lobby registration database.  This year it is Cook's Towing and in previous years it was Zore's.

And those represented seem to do quite well.  Even to someone like me, who has little memory for company names, these names jump out - Buckingham Companies, Comlux, Corrections Corporation of America, Citizens Energy Group, and Eli Lilly.

Not sure what to make of any of this, beyond the thought that it seems like a small number of registered lobbyist and their disclosed clients, compared to those seeking a piece of the taxpayers' $1 Billion Plus City-County budget.


Anonymous said...

Remember, lobbying, per se, isn't the problem. The problem is always the money that follows lobbying like the foul dust in the wake of dreams.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Pat, I've always been struck by how few actually register to lobby for the city. Obviously, there are some people who lobby the city that don't see the penalty for not registering to be serious enough to assume the risk of getting caught. It's primarily the large law firms which comply with the law. Take out their employees and there are only a handful of people registering annually.