Sen. Ray Jones declares in 10-minute speech that 'corporate cronyism is alive and well' in Capitol

01/15/2014 05:24 PM

Calling lobbyists in the state Capitol “minions,” Democratic state Sen. Ray Jones of Pikeville made a case against big money influence in state politics. And Jones said in a floor speech that he’ll soon introduce legislation to ensure lobbyists disclose how much money is spent on all lobbying efforts — and how it’s spent.

“Corporate cronyism is alive and well,” Jones said, borrowing a line that GOP U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin likes to use.

While the employers of lobbyists are required to report how much money they spend on total lobbying, Jones says the law has a loophole “you could drive a tractor-trailer through any given day of the session.” Jones said if legislative agents are pro-rating their time that they’re billing to employers, there’s no way to accurately account for lobbying.

“How do you determine the time they were actually engaged in lobbying,” Jones wondered aloud. “Some law firms have employees that are hired as legislative agents…How do you distinguish large amounts of money which are paid for legal advice, consulting, strategy planning versus what’s actually pro-rated to reflect lobbying?”

Jones spoke for more than 10 minutes in his floor speech.

That prompted Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, to respond with his own speech.

Stivers told reporters that he took issue with the way Jones admonished colleagues for “casting dispersions towards this body saying that in essence we’re following a corporate money trail.”

Overall Stivers said that if Jones wants to talk about disclosures, than perhaps its time to disclose “who everybody works for — should individuals be able to vote on budgets for whom they work?” Jones is a lawyer.

Jones responded to Stivers speech calling it “interesting spin” and telling fellow legislators this would be an issue he will return to over the course of this session.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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