April 25, 2018 Blog, Media

ICYMI: Lobbyists Deliver “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams” for Sen. Thayer’s Lavish European Vacation


This week, stories by Insider Louisville and Lex18 revealed that Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader, Damon Thayer, attended a controversial trip to London, England last summer that has become the focus of an FBI investigation and caused the resignation of the Ohio speaker of the House.

The trip treated lawmakers to five-star hotels, private events, and a champagne bus tour of London paid for by lobbyists.

As reported by The Enquirer, no expense was spared in wooing the legislators:

The travelers’ home base for the trip was the five-star Conrad London St. James hotel, according to emails and schedules related to the visit.

On the trip, the group toured the Houses of Parliament; had dinner with two Parliament members and lunch with Churchill’s granddaughter; rode the London Eye, an enclosed, super-sized Ferris wheel with views of the city; and took a bus tour of London, complete with champagne.”

Thayer’s trip was sponsored by GOPAC Education Fund and is reported to have been bankrolled in part by big tobacco lobbyist Altria. As reported in Courier-Journal, Altria was a big spender in the 2018 session of the General Assembly lobbying and holding secret meetings with lawmakers to oppose an increase in the cigarette tax.

According to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission website, Altria spent an average of $42,945 a month ($644,185 total) lobbying Kentucky Lawmakers from January 2017 through March 2018.