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The Empire

New ethics panel finds $220 million spent on lobbying Albany last year

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By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

The seemingly recession proof business of lobbying grew once again in New York last year. The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics found a total of $220 million was spent to influence the Governor and members of the legislature.

In particular, JCOPE found that a lobbying group closely associated with the Governor’s policies, The Committee to Save New York, was the biggest spender in 2011. The group, made up of business interests, financed nearly $12 million worth of lobbying and advertising campaigns.

In second place, is the health care workers union SEIU 1199, which spent nearly $7 million dollars on lobbying. Most of the largest lobbying clients were health care or education concerns.

Also on the top ten lobbying expenditure list: Wal-Mart and New Yorkers United for Marriage. The state approved same-sex marriage in June of last year.

Among the highest paying clients: the gambling conglomerate Genting, which wants to expand the Aqueduct race track’s gambling capacity, and Rudin Management, a major real estate firm.

The top lobbying firms include many with ties to government leaders. For example the firm of the Assembly Speaker’s former press secretary, Patricia Lynch Associates, netted nearly $8 million dollars form lobbying clients.

The report can be read here: