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Lobbying in state legislature’s short (30-day) session in 2019 set new record at $22.2m ($740k-plus a day)

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

It was a record year for lobbying expenses during a 30-day session year, totaling $22.2 million, according to the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Spending during the 2019 General Assembly almost matched that of the 2018 session, which lasted twice as long and included the enactment of the two-year state budget. In 2018, $23.1 million was spent on lobbying the General Assembly.

That means for each legislative day of the short session $740,148.30 was spent in lobbying costs. In 2019, 581 lobbyists worked for 720 employers, and were paid $20.3 million in compensation.

The previous record for a short session was set in 2017, at $20.8 million.

The two top-spending lobbying organizations in 2019 were the same as 2018, but switched places. Top spender Kentucky Chamber of Commerce spent $317,149, down from $352,425 in 2018. Second place finisher, Altria, which includes Philip Morris and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., spent $295,921, down from $552,103 in the prior year.

The rest of the top ten lobbying spenders were: The Ky. Hospital Association ($187,365); Anthem Inc. ($153,589); Ky. Bankers Association ($146,988); U.S. Justice Action Network ($135,180); Humana ($134,163); Ky. Justice Association ($133,513); Ky. Retail Federation ($133,428); and HCA Healthcare ($126,400).

The other top 25 spenders were: National Council of State Boards of Nursing ($123,924); Juul Labs ($123,089); United Healthcare Services ($120,913); CSX ($117,639); Home Builders Association of Ky. ($117,004); Accenture ($110,000); Ky. Medical Association ($109,525); Greater Louisville, Inc. ($109,342); Ky. Credit Union League ($107,277); Ky. League of Cities ($106,099); Ky. Association of Manufacturers ($102,262); Charter Communications ($99,028); AT&T ($98,614); LifePoint Health ($98,493); and Diversified Gas & Oil ($96,475).

Every two years, all employers of lobbyists are required to re-register with the Ethics Commission.

Legislative candidates and major management personnel of the legislative branch were to file financial disclosures by close of business Friday.  Sitting legislators must file their financial disclosures by Feb. 17.

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