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Lobbyist spending on track to break record in Kentucky

September 28, 2012 | | Comments Comments

By Beth Musgrave
bmusgrave@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Spending to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly is on track to hit $17 million in 2012, which would break the record for most money spent in a calendar year, a report released Friday showed.

The Legislative Ethics Commission reported that businesses and individuals have spent $13.2 million lobbying the legislature in the first eight months of 2012. If spending continues on pace for the remaining four months of the year, it will surpass the $16.9 million record set in 2008, the report said.

“If you go back to 1994, when we first started keeping these records, a total of about $6.5 million was spent on lobbying,” said John Schaaf, attorney for Legislative Ethics Commission. “Now, 18 years later, we’re probably going over $17 million. That’s approaching three times as much as what was spent 18 years ago.”

The spending report shows businesses and their lobbyists spent about $4.4 million over the past four months in Frankfort. Earlier this year, lobbyists spent more during the legislative session — the months of January, February, March and April — than during any previous legislative session.

Top spenders for the most recent four-month reporting period include the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, $95,906; Altria Client Services, $90,967; Kentucky Medical Association, $57,271; CSX Corporation, $47,416; and Houchens Industries, $44,000.

Earlier this summer, lobbyists and corporations spend $15,000 on a reception for Kentucky legislators at the National Conference of State Legislators in Chicago. The money went toward a “Kentucky Night” reception at the former Sears Tower in downtown Chicago.

Lawmakers also were invited to a “Kentucky Night” at the Southern Legislative Conference’s annual meeting in Charleston, West Virginia. Lobbyists and companies spent $3,500 on that reception, the report found.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Filed Under: KY General AssemblyState Government

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Comments

  1. Serag says:

    We should simply refuse to pay taxes !!!!!

  2. Beth says:

    It’s completely shameful that our political and justice system is for sale!
    Our forefathers are rolling in the their grave.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Beth,

    The system is not for sale – at least not in Kentucky. I have been closely involved, as a business owner and not a lobbyist, with numerous state legislatures. Kentucky has some of the strictest ethics laws on the books – clearly in response to a scandal more than 25 years ago. There are not doubt bad actors in any profession but lobbyists provide an extremely valuable service (namely knowledge) to part-time legislators who don’t have the resources or time to be an expert on every issue, poll every constituent group and business, etc. So many people want to get down on lobbyists but this is no more logical than getting upset with the electronics store clerk who is trying to sell you a camera. Is he motivated to sell you something – absolutely, and you both know that. He can still provide great insight into what digital camera is the best purchase for you and why.