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Mississippi lawmakers direct money for ads in some schools

(AP) — An advertising company that uses a well-connected lobbying firm has been paid more than $2 million since 2012 to hang posters in some Mississippi schools.

The Clarion Ledger reports that Mississippi lawmakers gave specific directions to state agencies to use the services of SkoolAds, based in Memphis, Tennessee.

For the 2018-2019 school year, Mississippi paid about $3,000 to create anti-tobacco posters, then paid SkoolAds $255,000 to hang those posters in fewer than one-tenth of the state’s public schools.

SkoolAds owner Lori Swaney tells the newspaper that her company has been “doing an awesome job for years and providing indisputable results” with messages that encourage safe driving and discourage tobacco use.

Since 2011, SkoolAds has paid $362,302 to a firm led by Beth Clay, long one of the highest-paid Mississippi lobbyists.