February 12, 2009

Interest Groups' Lobbying Tally Tops $500 Million

DID YOU ever wonder why Sacramento isn't as effective as it might be? Part of the reason is the tremendous influence that lobbyists have over our politics - and not just in Sacramento but in Washington D.C. too.

California labor unions, business associations and other interest groups spent more than $558 million – about $764,000 a day – to influence California government during the 2007-08 legislative session, according to state records analyzed by Capitol Weekly. Leading the way was the Service Employees International Union which spent $10.9 million over the two-year period. The Western States Petroleum Association, which represents oil and gas companies, spent $10.5 million over the same biennial span.

Rounding out the list of top five spenders was:
  • California Teachers Association ($7.9 million)
  • Bromine Science and Environmental Forum ($6.5 million)
  • California Hospital Association ($5.9 million)
Spending for the last legislative cycle was up from $504 million spent during the 2005-06 cycle.

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