Capitol Alert

California government lobbying rose again last year. Who spent the most?

California businesses, unions and local governments spent about $361 million lobbying California officials in 2018, the highest outlay since at least 2001, according to the latest data from the California Secretary of State.

The biggest spender was Pacific Gas & Electric, which spent $9.9 million on lobbying, followed by Western States Petroleum Association at ($7.9 million), Edison International and Affiliates ($4.2 million) and the California State Council of Service Employees ($4.1 million).

The $361 million spent last year represents an increase of about 5 percent over 2017. It is about $60 million more than the amount spent as recently as 2014.

The sector spending the most on lobbying state government was local government, led by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which spent about $1.8 million. Next was the health care sector, led by the California Hospital Association, which spent about $2.7 million.

Phillip Reese is a data specialist at The Sacramento Bee and an assistant professor of journalism at Sacramento State. His journalism has won the George Polk and Worth Bingham awards, and he was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.