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Friday, March 29, 2013 - 12:40pm

Spending Cap May Not Fix Concerns

Updated: 4 years ago.
Papers litter the chamber floor just after midnight Thursday as lawmakers celebrated the end of the 2013 legislative session (photo Brian Roberts)

A last-minute push in Georgia to impose a cap on lobbyist spending may have opened the door to new complications.

Legislation approved Thursday by the General Assembly would generally prevent lobbyists from more than $75 at a time on public officials, including state lawmakers. Right now, lobbyists can spend as much as they want as long as they disclose that spending.

However, it remains unclear how firm that spending cap will be.

Lawmakers and other government watchdog groups say the new legislation could still allow lobbyists to pool their money to purchase gifts worth more than $75 without violating the limit.

Some lobbyists are also concerned that another provision will allow lawyers to act as lobbyists while evading lobbyist reporting and spending requirements.