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New Ga. lobbying rules still allow state legislators to accept lavish summer travel

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ATLANTA — New lobbying rules in Georgia have not put much of a damper on free summer travel for state politicians.

An analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1uV6Dm2 ) shows lobbyists spent more than $100,000 hosting lawmakers and state officials at roughly two-dozen summertime conferences. Many were held on the coast of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina during June and July.

The spending increased roughly 35 percent from 2012, the year before state lawmakers agreed to limit lobbyist spending. While lawmakers set some spending limits, they left open big loopholes allowing lobbyists to pay generously for travel.

Year-to-year spending comparisons are imprecise. Spending between years can be uneven for a variety of reasons. Also, lobbyists are supposed to report their own spending, and some fail to comply.

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