Some lawmakers request reimbursement for lobbyist-funded treks

When the 19 Mississippi lawmakers arrived at the Sandestin Hilton in Florida last summer, they were given hotel cards to charge expenses.

Lobbyists picked up a tab of more than $26,000 for the three-day junket, which included hotel, meals, deep sea fishing, golfing, several cocktail parties and very little business for lawmakers to tend to beyond sitting on a panel.

The fete was put on by the Mississippi Consumer Finance Association, a group that wants lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow finance companies to charge fees that amount to up to 99 percent interest on small loans.

Although some lawmakers who went described the event as all expenses paid, four House members also filed for reimbursement totalling more than $2,300 on their state expense accounts for mileage, meals and incidentals. Yet lobbying reports show lobbyists paid a total of $5,600 for the four.

Clarion Ledger