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Lobbyist spending hits all time high

According to recently-filed reports, businesses, organizations, and legislative agents spent $16.4 million on Kentucky lobbying in 2013, a record amount for an odd-numbered year in which the legislative session lasts just 30 days.

The total is eight percent higher than the $15.1 million spent in the last odd-numbered year, and just $1.4 million less than the spending in 2012, when the session lasted 60 days. Most of the spending total is compensation for lobbyists, who were paid $14.9 million during the year.

Out of 708 businesses and organizations that lobbied in 2013, the top five spenders accounted for over $1 million of spending. Those top spenders are: Altria Client Services ($291,379); Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($289,824); Century Aluminum ($198,687); Kentucky Hospital Association ($172,421); and Kentucky Medical Association ($160,063).

The next highest spending employers are: Kentucky Justice Association ($128,895); Buffalo Trace Distillery ($120,000); Hewlett Packard ($120,000); Houchens Industries ($118,500); Kentucky Retail Federation ($112,300); AT&T ($108,847); Kentucky League of Cities ($92,793); Humana ($92,612); KentuckyOne Health ($91,885); and Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($91,422).

Other top spenders include: Norton Healthcare ($90,411); Churchill Downs ($90,328); National Tobacco Co. ($90,000); Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities ($88,956); EQT Corp. ($88,217); Jefferson County Public Schools ($87,176); Kentucky Association of Manufacturers ($83,490); Kentucky Bankers Association ($81,397); Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($80,304); Kentucky Cable Telecommunications Association ($79,976); Dismas Charities ($79,202); Swedish Match North America ($78,302); CSX Corp. ($77,387); Kentucky Beer Wholesalers Association ($75,397); LifePoint Hospitals ($74,664); Bluegrass New Directions ($73,009); Toyota Motors North America ($72,572); Kentucky Optometric Association ($71,931); and Anheuser-Busch Co. ($70,199).

Compared to 2009, Altria’s lobbying spending increased by 15%; the Chamber of Commerce is up 21%; Kentucky Hospital Association is up 43%; Kentucky Medical Association is up four percent; Kentucky Justice Association is up 11%; while CSX is down 30%; and Kentucky Farm Bureau is down 26%.

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