AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- In football-mad Texas the busy season is beginning for lobbyists. They will give away tens of thousands of dollars in tickets to state lawmakers for Cowboys and Texans NFL games, as well as highly-anticipated college tilts.
The San Antonio Express-News reported Sunday that since 2005, lobbyists have given away sporting tickets worth up to $192,000.
According to state ethics records, tickets went to a combination of lawmakers, state employees and their families.
In 2012 alone, lobbyists doled out sporting tickets valued up to $16,600.
It's the product of Texas ethics laws that allow lobbyists to shower lawmakers, state employees and their immediate families with freebies, as long as the value doesn't exceed $500 annually.
But lobbyists can give gifts that exceed $500 if they simply split the cost.