April 8 — A record $243 million was spent on lobbying state and local governments in New York last year, led for at least the 10th consecutive year by health care and real estate and construction interests, according to an April 7 report from the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP took in $11.2 million in compensation and reimbursed expenses for lobbying on behalf of 175 clients in 2015, continuing its reign as the top firm in both the number of clients and total compensation. It topped the list in both categories for the fifth straight year.
A group supporting education tax credits, the Invest in Education Coalition, topped all lobbying entities in 2015 by spending $5 million. The highest amount paid to a lobbying firm by a single client was $895,950, which the outdoor advertising company JCDecaux North America paid the firm Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Spending by lobbyists has risen by 18.5 percent since 2012. Annual spending has continued to rise every year since 1992, with the exception of a two-year period in 2012 and 2013 when it declined slightly.
“Spending by New York's lobbying industry takes the state seal literally—excelsior—ever upward,” Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail.
The report highlights a trend in lobbying expenses among the 10 top-spending lobbying entities. The top 10 spent $26 million in 2015, with 80 percent going to advertising and other expenses. By contrast, 85 percent of total lobbying expenditures were for compensation and only 15 percent for ads and expenses, the report said.
“At the very highest levels, spending is predominately allocated to advertisements and other expenses, while the industry as a whole continues to operate with the expenditures heavily centered on lobbyist compensation,” the report said.
The top-10 lobbying firms, as ranked by total compensation and reimbursed expenses, in 2015 were:
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