Interest groups spent a record-breaking $18.4 million to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly in 2014, the state's Legislative Ethics Commission said Friday.
That was 3.3 percent more than the 2012 lobbying total of $17.8 million, the previous spending record. Although the legislature meets annually, its 60-day sessions in even-numbered years are longer and costlier than its 30-day sessions in odd-numbered years.
The spending includes what more than 600 groups and businesses paid to retain lobbyists at the Capitol or host receptions for lawmakers. Starting this year, they also will be required to report what they spend on advertising during the session to influence legislation.
Here were the top spenders in 2014:
■ Tobacco giant Altria Client Services and its affiliates Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, $323,097.
■ The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, $291,158.
■ The Kentucky Hospital Association, $183,919.
■ AT&T, $169,006.
■ The Kentucky Medical Association, $164,362.
■ Anheuser-Busch Cos., $160,064.
■ The Kentucky Justice Association, which represents trial attorneys, $155,551.
■ The Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, $133,174.
■ Community Ventures Corp., a Lexington nonprofit for home and business owners, $127,855.
■ Buffalo Trace Distillery, $120,000.