Western Michigan University lobbyist Katie DeBoer John said there’s nothing lavish about the university spending $41,170 on lobbying state lawmakers in 2011.
And compared to what other universities are spending on having friends in the right places, one could agree.
Overall, Michigan public universities spent $2.1 million last year on lobbying lawmakers. The University of Michigan devoted the most to the task in 2011, listing $610,000 spent persuading federal lawmakers and $106,633 targeted at Lansing politicians -- a total of $716,663 for the year. Michigan State University spent $330,000 at the federal level and $117,346 in Lansing in 2011, according to the reports.
WMU stopped seeking federal government earmarks in 2008, when Congress told higher education lobbyists they would stop funding earmarked projects, said John. Plus, the state continued to cut higher education funding, making it difficult for university officials to justify spending dollars on federal government lobbying firms.