MADISON, WI – Four labor unions spent $4.2 million in the first half of 2011 lobbying state lawmakers, according to a report from the Government Accountability Board.
Overall, lobbying organizations reported spending $23.9 million, a 15 percent increase over the first six months of the 2009-2010 legislative session.
The first-half 2011 report analyzes the activities of 707 lobbying principals and 725 registered lobbyists.
"Wisconsin has a strong lobby law which requires that the public has ready access to information on the amount and sources of money used to influence legislation," said Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel of the Government Accountability Board. “The Board’s Eye on Lobbying online database allows the public to keep track of lobbying activities at the Capitol without leaving home.”
The two most-lobbied bills in the first half of 2011 were the budget repair bills, AB 11 and SB 11, which were passed. Lobbyists spent 22,311 hours on those bills. The third-most lobbied bill, AB 14 dealing with telecommunications regulation, received 1,735 hours of lobbying effort.
The Top 10 Lobbying Organizations, as ranked by dollars spent, so far in the 2011-2012 Session have been:
1. Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, 2,251 hours, $2,302,171
2. Wisconsin Education Association Council, 9,370 hours, $2,062,716
3. AFSCME Council 11, 3,306 hours, $1,228,811
4. AFSCME International, 10,631 hours, $694,422
5. AT&T Wisconsin, 4,167 hours, $439,745
6. Badger Advocates, Inc., 1,458 hours, $253,917
7. Wisconsin Medical Society, 1,851 hours, $253,770
8. Wisconsin Counties Association, 2,354 hours, $233,081
9. Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association Inc., 1,470 hours, $227,729
10. Wisconsin Energy Corporation, 614 hours, $219,506
The full report is available online at the G.A.B. website. Use the award-winning “Eye on Lobbying” website to search the lobbying database.
By law, any organization that compensates an individual to lobby state government on five or more days in a six-month period must register and file reports with the Government Accountability Board, which posts them on online in a searchable database. Organizations report their lobbying activities two ways: real-time reports within 15 days of when they begin to lobby on a specific bill or issue, and six-month reports detailing the hours and dollars spent lobbying. In Wisconsin, lobbyists are forbidden by law to give meals, entertainment or other gifts to state lawmakers, and campaign donations are limited to specific windows of time outside the normal legislative session.
Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887
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