Lobbying spending in Kentucky hit an all-time high in 2016, as $20.8 million was paid by businesses, organizations, and lobbyists pursuing their interests with the General Assembly.
In the largest spending category, $18.7 million was spent last year by employers compensating lobbyists, a 10 percent increase over the $16.8 million in compensation paid in 2014, the previous even-numbered year with a 60-day legislative session.
Lobbying continues to be a growth industry, as overall spending is up 11 percent from 2014, and compensation has more than tripled over the past 20 years, up from $6 million in 1996. Meanwhile, the number of lobbying employers has increased by 35 percent -- from 448 in 1996 to 694 businesses and organizations registered today. The top lobbying spenders and the amounts spent in 2016 are: Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($281,378); Altria Client Services and its affiliates, including Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco ($274,358); Kentucky Hospital Association ($211,096); Kentucky Retail Federation ($204,124); Kentucky Justice Association ($185,659); Marsy's Law for All ($162,270); Norton Healthcare ($156,518); Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($139,570); Humana ($130,798); and Molina Healthcare ($129,933).
The rest of the top 20 spenders are: Anthem ($128,500); Hewlett Packard Enterprise ($126,000); Buffalo Trace Distillery ($117,250); Kentucky League of Cities ($111,291); Century Aluminum ($110,541); AT&T ($107,357); Americans for Prosperity ($106,814, including $93,000 on advertising); EQT Corporation ($103,880); Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($103,460); and Kentucky State Building & Construction Trades Council ($100,834).