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Lobbyist Numbers Down, Spending Up In 2015

LRC Public Information

Despite 2015’s short 30-day legislative session, lobbying expenditures in Frankfort are on pace to break records this year. 

Lobbyists and groups hiring them forked over $13.7 million in the first eight months of 2015 – and if that spending stays on course, analysts expect to add another $5 million to that total before the General Assembly returns to the Capitol in January, setting a new record.

John Schaaf with the Legislative Ethics Commission attributes the continuing upward trend to new rules that require groups employing lobbyists to report advertising spending during the session along with the rise of contract lobbying.

"In the past, you might have a business located in Bowling Green or Somerset that might send one of their employees to Frankfort to lobby. Well, they found out that it's much more effective probably to employ one of these contract lobbyists who's on the scene in Frankfort all the time," he explains.

Hiring lobbyists who are more plugged in to the Capitol also carries a bigger price tag. According to commission, businesses and organizations are shelling out an average of $2,000 to $6,000 a month for those services.

State lobbying spending has steadily climbed every year since 1993, except for the four year stretch following the 2008 market crash. 

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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