Lobbying And A Few Restaurant Recommendations

Ok, so it may come as no surprise that lobbyists outnumber lawmakers.

But do you know by how much?

Try 5 to 1.

According to the Secretary of State’s typo-ridden lobbyist directory, there are approximately 560 firms and individuals registered to work at the capitol on behalf of clients this year.

But only a few of those lobbyists can inadvertently recommend restaurants through their financial disclosures.Since July, Xcel lobbyist Michael Beasley has spent over $1,500 treating lawmakers to meals and golf, according to government records. And before that he was a lobbyist for Gov. Bill Owens and the executive director of the Department of Local Affairs.

There was the $32 meal with Rep. Cheri Jahn in November, at Denver’s Nine 75, a restaurant described by the Denver Post as a place “where glitzy cocktails and miso-glazed black cod share menu space with meatloaf and buttermilk fried chicken.”

Then Rep. Jahn was treated again in December, where Beasley spent $31at Benny’s Place, which is also known as Benny’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar.

Westword says the “place stays packed from weekend brunch or weekday lunch until the last pitcher of margs is poured at the end of the day.”

When the Council of State Governments-West conference was held last August, Sen. Suzanne Williams and Reps. Nancy Todd, Alice Borodkin, Stephanie Takis, Al White, and Ray Rose were presumably treated at the Blue River Bistro in Breckenridge, where the conference was held. Although Beasley writes that the restaurant is located in Steamboat Springs.

Directory assistance and search engines showed no such dining place in the Steamboat, however.

The Summit Daily News named Blue River Breckenridge’s 2nd best restaurant last year.

The total bill? Over $400.

Around the same time, Beasley also paid over $50 in lunch money for Sens. Suzanne Williams, Nancy Spence, and Reps. Nancy Todd and Michael Garcia at the Club 28 restaurant in the Breckenridge Golf Club.

The Club says “don’t miss the local’s favorite, Thursday Night BBQ. Club 28 provides on course cart service including hot food and box lunches. On site catering is also available for group outings.”

Again, disclosure papers say that Club 28 is located in Steamboat Springs, but it couldn’t be found in that location.

So if you have the dough, and are near Denver or ski country, there are a few nice places you can dine, courtesy of lobbyist disclosures.

And while you’re enjoying that miso-glazed black cod, take a moment to lament your starving lawmakers. Since the implementation of Amendment 41, which restricts the money lobbyists can splurge on public officials, Beasley hasn’t made any expenditures.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.