Madison (Wisconsin) - State Ethics Board officials said today that 755 organizations reported spending a record $58.1 millon lobbying legislators, other elected officials and state agencies in the 2005-'06 legislative session -- a 19% increase over the previous session.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state chamber of commerce, again reported spending the most -- $1.59 million -- trying to influence Capitol decisions and state agencies. That was a 14% increase over what WMC spent the previous session, said Ethics Board Executive Director Roth Judd.
WMC was one of three groups that spent more than $1.5 million on lobbying; the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state's largest teachers union, spent $1.53 million and Wisconsin Hospital Association, $1.5 million. Of all 755 groups that lobby, 10 reported spending more than $750,000 each; 322 groups reported spending less than $25,000 each.
All groups reported spending 440,000 hours trying to influence bills in the Legislature and state agency decisions, a jump of 18.9% from the previous session. State rules require lobbying groups to report salaries paid staff members who lobby, payments to lobbying consultants, fringe benefits and overhead administrative costs.