Lobbyists buy Utah lawmakers golf, meals

Lobbyists buy Utah lawmakers golf, meals

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Financial disclosure reports due Friday show that lobbyists treated Utah lawmakers to free rounds of golf, trap shooting and scores of meals in the past three months.

The vast majority of gifts that lawmakers receive come in the form of meals, and lobbyists have made an art form of splitting up costs at expensive restaurants. That practice allows them to spend less than $50 per lawmaker, which ensures that lawmakers aren't identified on financial disclosure reports.

A law that took effect May 12 -- midway through this quarter's reporting period -- lowered the threshold for identifying lawmakers by name to any meal costing $25 or more.

Exceptions are made if the entire Legislature, all members of the House or Senate, a committee or party caucus were invited to the meal.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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