More than $6 million spent on lobbying efforts

Published 11:51 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

By Tom Latek

Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky General Assembly is winding down its 60-day session and the Legislative Ethics Commission announced Thursday lobbying spending for the first two months of 2024 hit an all-time high of $6,311,843.

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The previous record for the same period was $5.987 million, set last year. By comparison, the total for all lobbying expenditures for the first year they were required to be reported was $6,466,058 for all of 1994.

There were a record 922 lobbying businesses and organizations registered to lobby in Kentucky, spending $6.128 million. 743 lobbyists were paid $5.480 million in compensation, and also reported $183,542 in expenses.

The top lobbying spender for January and February was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce at $105,310, the majority of which was used for lobbyist compensation. In February, the Chamber held its annual dinner in Lexington and spent, along with 33 sponsoring lobbying groups, $7,347 for the event. It was the fourth-highest amount expended on receptions, meals, or events to which legislators or legislative staff were invited during February.

American Civil Liberties Union of KY (ACLU) was the second-highest spender, at $95,932, mostly on lobbyist compensation. ACLU also spent the second- highest amount on advertising, $29,860, for traditional and digital billboards, as well as mobile digital, radio, and social media ads on HB 5, an omnibus crime bill, that has not yet seen final action by lawmakers.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth came in third at $58,231. Greater Louisville, Inc., was in fourth place, spending $55,800 to lobby, all of which was for lobbyist compensation. The Kentucky Hospital Association finished out the top 5, spending $55,326.

The next filing date for employers’ and lobbyists’ spending disclosures with the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission  is Monday, April 15, which is also the final day of the 2024 General Assembly.