Legislative panel will discuss recent lobbying audits

florida budget rotunda

A joint panel of the Florida Legislature will go over the first round of lobbying firm audit reports at its meeting Monday morning.

The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee plans to meet, starting at 9:30 a.m.

The results of the first-ever audits of lobbyists’ compensation forms were released last month.

Auditors found a number of firms either under-reporting or over-reporting the money they made in 2014.

Nearly all of those firms turned in amended disclosures, saying any mistakes were unintentional.

This was the first time under a 2005 state law that lobbying firms were subject to audits.

In February, committee staff randomly picked 26 lobbying firms to be audited.

Four accounting firms were hired to do the work: Carroll and Co.; Carr, Riggs & Ingram (CRI); Grant Thornton; and Warren Averett.

Also Monday, the panel will consider suggested changes to the quarterly lobbying reports themselves, including allowing lobbying firms to submit a written response to any problems noted by auditors. 

More than $200 million is spent annually in an attempt to influence the making of state policy, according to estimates.

However, state law requires only that firms report compensation in ranges rather than exact figures, so it’s nearly impossible to know precisely how much money is involved in lobbying lawmakers.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


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