FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - When Frankfort lawmakers discuss parties, they're not always referring to the Democratic and Republican varieties.
Lobbyists spent more than $77,000 on parties for lawmakers in January and February. Financial reports filed with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission show the most expensive of those get-togethers was at the Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery and cost nearly $15,000.
Richard Beliles, chairman of the government watchdog group Common Cause Kentucky, called the spending on parties "egregious."
Lobbyists crave face time with lawmakers to discuss issues, and throwing parties provides opportunities to talk one-on-one. But Common Cause Kentucky contends the parties give well-financed lobbyists an unfair advantage in influencing legislation.
The financial reports showed lobbyists spent an average of nearly $560 per lawmaker on meals, receptions and events for the two-month period.
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