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Study ranks Florida at bottom of country for lobbyist transparency


Lobbyists in the Sunshine State are subject to the least-transparent public disclosure requirements in the country.

The Sunlight Foundation, an open-government watchdog group, released a study Wednesday highlighting the details of what state legislative lobbyists are required to disclose to the government and how much of that information is publicly available.

Florida ranked dead last, behind Nevada and West Virginia, the other two states to earn an "F" rating from the nonprofit.

Rankings were based on five criteria, and Florida earned a total score of -6, the lowest possible.

That ranking is largely due to a lack of specificity in the state's lobbyist disclosure. As an example, Florida lost points for not requiring lobbyists to disclose their expenditures and for requiring that they report how much they are paid for their work only in broad ranges, rather than with specificity. Lobbyists do not have to disclose the issues or specific bills and regulations they're lobbying for or against in Florida either.

Still, the state maintains an easy-to-use lobbyist directory online for both the executive and legislative branches, and it publishes compensation data openly, as well.