April 7, 2016
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Albany, NY

Joint Commission on Public Ethics Releases 2015 Annual Report Showing New Record Spending on Lobbying

Joint Commission on Public Ethics Releases 2015 Annual Report Showing New Record Spending on Lobbying
Record $243 million spent on state and local lobbying; education-related groups among top spenders

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“Commission”) today released its 2015 Annual Report featuring highlights of its work over the past year, including regulation of a record $243 million spent on lobbying at the state and local government levels, an eight percent increase over 2014.

Spending for retained and in-house lobbyists also set a record in 2015, with more than $206 million spent on compensation for those individuals. That is more than $12 million higher than what was spent in 2014. Spending for advertising expenses rose to $17.9 million, while event-related expenses dropped slightly to just over $729,000.

Many of the top-spending groups were involved in lobbying for education-related issues. Invest in Education Coalition, Inc. (formerly the Coalition for Opportunity in Education, Inc.) led all lobbying entities, with $5.1 million going toward its lobbying efforts, most of it for advertising, events, and other non-compensation expenses. Other education-related groups in the top ten spenders include New York State United Teachers, which spent $4.6 million, StudentsFirst New York Advocacy, Inc. ($2.4 million), Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy ($1.7 million), and Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. ($1.6 million). Also among the highest spenders were the New York City and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corporation (nearly $3.1 million), Greater New York Hospital Association ($2.8 million), Putting New Yorkers to Work ($2 million), and United University Professions ($1.5 million), with those entities lobbying on issues such as rent control, prevailing wage, and affordable housing laws.

The ten highest-spending lobbying entities spent more than $26 million, or about 11 percent of all lobbying spending. Within that group, more than 80 percent of spending was allocated to advertisements or other expenses. As a comparison, total lobbying spending across the board was split 85 percent to compensation and 15 percent to expenses. Thus, at the very highest levels, spending is predominantly allocated to advertisements and other expenses, while the industry as a whole continues to operate with the expenditures heavily centered on lobbyist compensation.

The complete source data filed by lobbyists and their client was also published to the Commission’s website, jcope.ny.gov, today. 

In addition to lobbying activity data, the report also provides information about the Commission’s investigations and enforcement efforts in 2015, which included a substantial basis investigation report involving a former member of the Assembly and the largest penalties levied by the Commission to date against a lobbying client. Other investigation and enforcement efforts included review of more than 200 potential investigative matters and the resolution of 26 cases through settlements. Penalties resulting from those investigations and enforcement actions totaled more than $189,000 and involved a range of violations, including abuse of office, nepotism, accepting prohibited gifts, and failing to file required disclosures with the Commission. The report also includes a summary of legal guidance provided over the past year, updated data about the Commission’s mandated training and education initiatives, and information about substantial investments in information technology.

 

Contact Communications and Public Information Office

The Communications and Public Information Office is the point of contact for the public and members of the press with questions about JCOPE's mission and to request access to records such as the financial disclosure statements filed by state officials and employees, the statewide elected officials, members of the Legislature and legislative employees. 

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New York State

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