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ASU, UA shield lobbying expenses via foundations

The state’s two largest public universities have for years been represented at the state Capitol by powerful lobbying firms, though neither Arizona State University or the University of Arizona has records of hiring a contract lobbyist.

Instead, each school’s nonprofit foundation has contracted directly with outside lobbyists to advocate at the Legislature on behalf of the schools. Neither university foundation responded to detailed questions about the nature of the relationship between it and the lobbying firms, and neither would provide a copy of its contract with the lobbyists hired to represent a public body.

As a result, it is impossible for the public to know how much lobbying firms are being paid to represent the interests of public universities.