Spending to lobby Kentucky lawmakers may hit $17 million in 2012

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comSeptember 28, 2012 

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 spent $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, W. Va. Lobbyists and companies spent $3,500 on that reception, the report found.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service