Digging into spending on lobbying in Connecticut

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Less than $6 million was spent during the first half of this year on lobbying state administrative agencies while more than $24 million was spent lobbying the legislature.

The data, reported to the Connecticut Office of State Ethics, breaks down how much organizations spent on lobbying — and what they spent it on, using broad categories like ‘media buys’ and ‘compensation.’ So TrendCT parsed the report to analyze each of these subcategories.

Who spent the most?

Looking at overall spending on legislative lobbying, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, or CBIA, outspent all other groups. The largest portion of their money went to media buys.

When it came to compensation related to lobbying, The Families for Excellent Schools spent more than $1 million.

The Connecticut Education Association, or CEA, spent nearly five times more than the second-biggest spender in the category of “administrative lobbying,” which is done to influence the rules or regulations of an executive agency. Most of CEA’s money ($480,000) went to media buys, much like CBIA’s spending on legislative lobbying.

Compensation related to its lobbying amounted to a little more than $3,000.

The group that had the highest compensation for administrative lobbying? MGM Resorts with $96,700.

Who spent the most in various subcategories

When looking at which organizations spent the most in various subcategories, we combined administrative and legislative expenditures.

CBIA spent the most on entertainment, though amounts in this subcategory tend to be very small.

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers and AARP list the most expenditures related to public officials in Connecticut, though amounts in this category also tend to be small.

The law prohibits registered lobbyists and anyone acting on their behalf from giving a gift to a state employee, public official, candidate for office, or a member of any such person’s staff or immediate family. But there are a number of exceptions, including gifts under $10, meals under $50, or a gift up to $1,000 for major life events like a wedding. Lobbyists can also pay for trips to events like speeches or workshops.

CBIA spent a lot of money trying to influence the government with media ads. Key elements of the budget debate this legislative session were proposed taxes that affected businesses.

The CBIA also spent a lot on office expenses.

Who spent the most on compensation related to lobbying?

The state defines legislative lobbying as “any lobbying that affects legislation, even if you contact an executive branch official as part of your efforts.” This is how much the top groups spent paying people to do this type of lobbying.

Administrative lobbying is defined as “any lobbying that affects, among other things, the rules or regulations of an executive agency, and the actions of an executive or quasi-public agency regarding a contract, grant, award, purchasing agreement, etc.”

Explore the specific data on all 900 of the registered groups.

What do you think?