FREE LUNCH PROGRAM
While all members of the Michigan legislature earn too much money to qualify for free meals from the National School Lunch Program, lobbyists paid for food and beverages for all but 24 of the state’s 148 lawmakers during the first seven months of 2019. Legislators who received the most amount of lobbyist-funded food and drinks were Reps. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo) $5,682; Jim Lilly (R-Park Township) $5,325; chair and vice chair of the House Ways and Means committee; Speaker of the House Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) $4,142; Mike Webber (R-Rochester) $2,368; and Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) $2,002. The totals, which are compiled each year by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, represent a new record in spending, with registered lobbyists reportedly dishing out more than $517,000 from January through July. Webber, who consistently ranks among the top five recipients of lobbyist-funded food and drink, leads all Oakland County lawmakers. Others on the list include Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) $1,175; Rep. Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield) $523; Sen Jim Runestad (R-White Lake Township) $433; Rep Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) $384; Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) $197; Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods ) $130; Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) $123; Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford) $108; and Rep. Kathy Crawford (R-Novi) $61. Reps. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak), Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), John Reilly (R-Oakland Township) and Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) did not receive any lobbyist meals or drinks, according to finance disclosures.