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Frankfort Lobbying Still Trending Upward Despite 2014 Dip

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission is reporting a slight drop in lobbying spending during the most recent session.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

During the 2014 General Assembly, lobbyists spent close to $8.7 million – that’s down about from a record set during the last 60-day session in 2012. The wider picture, however, shows trends moving in the other direction.

"It appears that the spending is going up each year during the even-year sessions, according to our data," says Donnita Crittenden with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission.

This year’s dip was largely the result of one major spender, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, cutting back on phone banking and website advertising meant to facilitate direct contact between lawmakers and citizens.

"In the 2014 General Assembly, there was a $470,000 drop off since the 2012 spending calendar year," Crittenden says.

In all, Altria – which owns tobacco brands Marlboro, Skoal, and Black & Mild – spent the most on lobbying this year. Some anti-smoking advocates have blamed the company for helping defeat a proposed statewide smoking ban, but Altria says it did not lobby on that issue, instead choosing to focus on a series of cigarette excise taxes proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear.

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