The Joint Commission on Public Ethics released lobbying data for the first half of 2013 showing that approximately $105 million was reported spent to influence government decision making during the period. The figure was the least amount recorded in the last five years. While total compensation paid to professional lobbyists remained consistent with prior years, the amount spent on advertising was significantly lower.
Top spenders on lobbying activity for the period included Altria and retailer coalitions, as well as teachers’ unions, Major League Soccer and health care associations. The new Friends of Democracy (New York) and gaming company Genting New York were also among the top 10.
The figures come from data submitted to the Joint Commission by lobbyists, their clients and public corporations covering lobbying activities from January 1 through June 30. Registered lobbyists and public corporations are required to file bi-monthly reports of their lobbying activities for each client, including compensation and reimbursed expenses received during each period. Clients are required to file twice each year detailing their lobbying expenditures, including the amount spent on advertising.
The data in these filings shows that during the period, a total of about $3 million was reported as spent on lobbying-related advertising while the figure neared $8.2 million for the first half of 2012. Total compensation paid to professional lobbyists remained fairly consistent from 2012 to 2013 at $93.2 million and $92.8 million, respectively.
As of June 30, 2013, there were 5,846 individual lobbyists reported on lobbyist registrations representing 3,288 clients.
The Joint Commission updated its publicly available sets of the complete data filed by lobbyists and their clients to include reported information from the first half of 2013. The data is available in spreadsheet and CSV file formats, providing the public unprecedented ease of access and the ability to perform custom analyses.