Lobbyists spend record amount in January

Published 11:21 am Friday, March 1, 2024

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Spending by Kentucky lobbying interests before the General Assembly for January 2024 hit an all-time high, according to data released Thursday by the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission.

A total of $2,986,769 was spent in January, a record for the first month of a session. The previous record for the first month of a legislative session was $2.66 million, set last year. Also, a record 891 lobbying businesses and organizations registered to lobby in Kentucky, spending $2.89 million. 718 lobbyists were paid $2.672 million in compensation and reported $92,091 in expenses.

The top lobbying spender in January was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $51,414, the majority on lobbyist compensation. The Chamber lobbied on about two dozen pieces of legislation.

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The Chamber held an Artificial Intelligence Summit to which all legislators were invited, in conjunction with Deloitte Consulting, another registered lobbying employer and held a reception for General Assembly members.

The second-highest spender was the American Civil Liberties Union of KY (ACLU), who spent $29,469, mostly on lobbyist compensation, and reported lobbying on eight bills currently before lawmakers.

Save the Children Action Network spent $28,472 to come in third in spending, $20,000 of which was spent on digital ads and a mobile billboard in Frankfort and ads in the Louisville Courier-Journal, in support of childcare investments in the budget.

In fourth place was Greater Louisville, Inc., which spent $27,800 to lobby, all of which was for lobbyist compensation. They reported lobbying on eight bills, as well as priorities and issues related to business interests, economic development incentives, education, environment and energy, local tax reform, state budget, talent attraction, and workforce participation.

Rounding out the top 5 was Frankfort Plant Board, at $27,605, which reported $10,230 of that amount on advertising in the Franklin County/ Frankfort Plant Board service area against proposed legislation that would require the sale of the Board’s telecommunications assets.