The report is dated Aug. 12 but was released to the public Monday. It says the hiring of private lobbyists by public agencies or colleges "constitutes a waste of the state's scarce resources."
"The money used for contract lobbyists could be used for ongoing programs and services," the report says.
Some legislators have complained for years about agencies or colleges using public money to hire people to lobby for more public money.[...]
State agencies and colleges spent nearly $1.3 million in public money to hire private lobbyists from January 2003 to December 2007, according to the report. But the committee also said it "cannot attest to the accuracy of this amount" because state laws about reporting lobbyists' compensation are vague.
The largest example of spending in the PEER report was the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which paid one lobbyist $363,769 over four years, an average of $90,942 a year. The smallest example of spending was the University of Mississippi, which paid one lobbyist $7,500 for one year.