Lobbyists spent $8.7 million to lobby Kentucky lawmakers this year—and tobacco giant Altria led the pack at $156,000, According to records released by the Legislative Ethics Commission this week.
Some have pointed to the tobacco lobby's heavy spending during the 2014 session as a major contributing factor in the defeat of a statewide smoking ban.
Here are the top 10-spending companies and business interest groups to lobby the General Assembly:
$128,434 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
$97,850 Kentucky Hospital Association
$83,499 Kentucky Medical Association
$72,320 Kentucky Bankers Association
$68,821 Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation
$66,348 Kentucky Justice Association
$65,985 Kentucky Retail Federation
$62,631 Kentucky Association of Cooperatives
The commission noted that the amount was about $470,000 less than the record-setting $8.8 million spent during the 2012 session, a decline it attributes to the activities of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
The CHPA is the legislature's single biggest lobbying spender ever, setting a record of $486,053 during the 2012 session. The pharmaceutical group primarily spent on a pricey "phone banking and website advertising allowing direct citizen contact with legislators," according to the commission.
The report also details a dozen entities that were among the biggest lobbying spenders in 2014, but not in 2012:
Norton Healthcare ($68,900)
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth ($67,546)
Pew Charitable Trusts ($65,985)
Kentucky League of Cities ($65,548)
Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($60,948)
Kentucky State Building & Construction Trades Council ($57,051)
United Parcel Service ($54,950);
Boardwalk Pipeline Partners ($54,500)
AK Steel ($53,658)
Kentucky Association of School Administrators ($50,350)