Lobbying At State Level Rising Swiftly
May 2, 2002
The amount being spent on lobbying state legislators and disclosed by states has nearly doubled in five years, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity.
- Lobbyists spent $570 million in 2000 to influence legislators in 34 states -- a rise of 91 percent since 1995, when fewer states reported such spending.
- Sixteen states still do not tabulate lobbyist spending.
- The study documented nearly 37,000 businesses, associations and interest groups that are registered lobbyists in the 50 states -- a ratio of about five lobbyists for every state legislator.
- Closely regulated industries -- such as insurance, education, local government and health care -- constituted the largest lobbying groups in nearly every state capitol.
California lobbyists had by far the largest operations, spending $180 million in 2000 -- compared with $66 million spent in New York, the state with the next highest amount.
State legislators are rarely subjected to the kind of conflict-of-interest rules that apply to Congress. In fact, the center found that one in five of the nation's 7,400 legislators sat on a committee that regulated industries or issues in which they had a personal financial interest -- and that 18 percent had a financial connection to a business or group that lobbied in their state house.
The center even found one Arkansas legislator who was also a registered lobbyist.
Source: David Firestone, "Study Tracks Big Rise in Statehouse Lobbying," New York Times, May 2, 2002; "The Fourth Branch," May 2002, Center for Public Integrity.
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