Capitol Alert

Advocates report $48.5 million in state lobbying costs in first quarter


Local governments, businesses, unions and other special interests reported spending more than $48.5 million on direct state lobbying expenses from January through March, according to first-quarter reports filed earlier this month.

More than 2,760 lobbyist employers also spent $16.3 million on other payments to influence and $1 million on meals for legislative staff members and other activity expenses from Jan. 1 through March 31.

The California Hospital Association, Western States Petroleum Association, California State Council of Service Employees, California Medical Association, and Los Angeles County reported the most payments to in-house lobbyists and lobbying firms, with first-quarter totals ranging from $331,000 to $487,000.

In its filing, the hospital association reported lobbying the Brown administration, Office of Statewide Health Planning and the Office of the State Architect on rules regarding hospital seismic safety. It also lobbied Covered California, the state’s health care exchange, as well as the Legislature on dozens of bills, according to its report.

This month’s filing total, which exceeds lobbying expenses during equivalent periods in 2013-14 and 2011-12, is certain to grow as the legislative session moves along. From April through June of 2013, for example, total lobbying payments totaled $53.3 million, several million dollars more than first three months of 2013.

What has to be reported

Types of lobbyist employer payments that have to be reported each quarter:

  • Payments to in-house employee lobbyists
  • Payments to lobbying firms
  • Activity expenses
  • Other payments to influence, which includes multimillion-dollar ad campaigns