CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Expensive meals, hotels and cocktails were among the freebies that West Virginia lawmakers and state employees received from lobbyists over the past four months.
Financial disclosure reports show lobbyists spent nearly $40,000 on state officials and their family members between May 1 and Aug. 31.
West Virginia prohibits lawmakers from receiving gifts worth more than $25, but no law limits how much lobbyists can spend on food, drinks and travel.
Lobbyists also don't have to disclose where they bought meals or break down how much of the tab was for alcohol. Lobbyists are supposed to specify what the subject of their lobbying was. Some said no lobbying occurred at their dinners while others only gave vague references to general conversation.
There are more than 300 registered lobbyists in West Virginia.