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New Kentucky Lobbying Record Could Be Set

Kentucky businesses and other groups could set a new spending record for lobbying state lawmakers this year.A report released by the Legislative Ethics Commission shows that $13.2 million has already been spent on lobbying during the first eight months of 2012. The biggest spenders include several tobacco companies, as well as Churchill Downs, Humana and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.During the 2012 General Assembly, lobbyists and their employers spent $8.8 million, which is more than in any legislative session in state history. And this year’s lobbying expenditures are projected to surpass the record of $16.9 million dollars set in 2008."And the total spent has really grown quite a bit from about $6.5 million in 1994 up to what appears to be in excess of $17 million for 2012," says Legislative Ethics Commission John Schaaf.The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce tops the list with nearly $96,000 spent to influence state lawmakers, and here are the other big spenders.From the report: The top spending employers for that four-month period are: Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($95,906); Altria Client Services ($90,967); Kentucky Medical Association ($57,271); CSX Corporation ($47,416); Houchens Industries ($44,000); EQT Corporation ($40,160); AmeriHealth Mercy ($40,134); Hewlett-Packard Co. ($40,000); Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($39,780); Kentucky Justice Association ($36,341); Peabody Energy ($36,134); Churchill Downs ($35,160); Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust ($33,333); Humana ($32,132); Amgen ($30,976); Citigroup Management ($30,134); and National Tobacco Co. ($30,000).Schaaf says constituents should be aware of who is petitioning their representatives and what their interests are."All of those types of organizations and businesses are represented by lobbyists. There are more of them and they are spending more than they’ve ever spent before," he says. "I think people need to be aware that that’s what is going on, but I’m not sure it’s something they have to worry about exactly."There are 630 employers and 586 lobbyists registered with the state.