Lobbying companies gave six-figure contributions to underwrite the costs for Kentucky to host the Southern Legislative Conference annual convention.
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission says three groups that lobby the legislature gave at least $100,000 to sponsor the convention. Those groups were the Keeneland race track, the Kentucky Distillers Association and LG&E and KU Energy. About 1,500 state legislators and staff attended the conference from 15 southern states.
Although such contributions are legal and not unusual not everyone agrees with the practice. Chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky, Richard Beliles, says the donations buy access to legislators.
Sponsors who gave $100,000 or more were called underwriters. Two other underwriters are listed who do not employ lobbyists; University of Kentucky Athletics and University of Kentucky Healthcare.
The Southern Legislative Conference and other legislative organizations fund many of their activities through contributions from businesses and organizations.