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Friday, April 8, 2011 - 9:43am

Loophole Omits Some Lobbyist Spending

Under Georgia law, lobbyists don’t have to report what they spend on state employees or the family members of elected officials. It's the second loophole found in the measure since lawmakers rewrote it last year.

Republican Senator Josh McKoon from Columbus says public trust is at stake and he’s pushing to fix the loophole in the final three days of this session.

"I think there is widespread agreement that all of these transactions should be exposed," says McKoon, "and based on conversations I've had [with Senate leadership] I’m very much encouraged that we are going to get it taken care of before we adjourn for this session."

In February, lawmakers also had to clarify who was required to register as a lobbyist.

McKoon and public watchdog groups say the loopholes highlight a broader issue--- that the state ethics commission can’t fix the problem itself, but must go to lawmakers to change the law every time there’s a discrepancy or oversight.

Years ago, lawmakers stripped the commission of its power to make rules to interpret state ethics law.

Mckoon says they’ll push to restore that authority next year.