The amount of money spent on lobbying state lawmakers dropped nearly 10 percent between the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions, according to the state ethics officials.
In the session immediately following the convictions of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, clients of lobbyists spent $120.2 million on efforts to influence government decision making in New York state over the first six months of 2016.
This represents a decrease of $10.7 million — approximately 8 percent — from lobbying expenditures during the same time period in 2015. The data released by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics also reveals that through June 2016, the 10 highest spending lobbying organizations accounted for 11 percent of all lobbying spending in the state.
As of June 30, 2016, there were 6,542 individual lobbyists reported on lobbyist registrations in New York state, representing 4,360 clients. The list of top lobbying spenders features significant turnover compared to the top spenders in the first half of 2015.
The New York State Nurses Association led all organizations with $2.3 million in lobbying expenditures, a nearly $2 million increase over what it spent in the first half of 2015.
Other top spenders — the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. — appeared in the top 10 for the first time, with expenditures exceeding $2 million and $750,000, respectively.
Of the 10 highest spending entities through June 30, only New York State United Teachers, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc., and Greater NY Hospital Association appeared on the 2015 top spenders list.
The report shows a change in how lobbying money is used.
Most of the spending was allocated to expenses including advertising and events, but not traditional compensation of lobbyists. For example, among the top five spenders, other, non-personnel expenses accounted for more than 80 percent of their total spending, the data shows.
This continues a trend exhibited in 2015, in which the top spending lobbying organizations dedicated substantial resources to non-compensation expenses, while the total lobbying population showed a more balanced allocation of funds between compensation and other lobbying expenses, according to JCOPE.
Despite total spending being down from mid-year 2015, the top 10 lobbying firms received a nearly identical $35.5 million in compensation and reimbursed expenses.
Kasirer LLC leads all lobbying firms through June 2016 with $5.27 million in total earnings. While the top-spending clients have significantly shifted, nine of the top 10 professional lobbying firms from the 2015 mid-year list remain on this report. New to the group of top firms is Ostroff Associates Inc., accounting for $2.29 million.
Bolton St. Johns LLC led all lobbyists with 149 clients through June 2016, followed by James F. Capalino & Associates, Inc. and Kasirer LLC, which each registered to represent 148 clients.
These most recent figures come from data submitted to JCOPE by lobbyists, their clients and public corporations, covering lobbying activities from January 1 through June 30, 2016.
Registered lobbyists and public corporations must file bi-monthly reports, including the amount of compensation and reimbursed expenses for lobbying activities that were received during the previous two months. For clients of lobbyists, filings must be submitted twice a year that detail what was spent on lobbying during the previous six months, including how much was spent on advertising.
The organizations spending the most on lobbying from January through June 2016 are:
- NEW YORK STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION— $2,286,554
- RENT STABILIZATION ASSOCIATION OF NYC, INC — $2,134,228
- MARIO CUOMO CAMPAIGN FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE, INC — $2,022,539
- FAMILIES FOR EXCELLENT SCHOOLS, INC — $2,009,689
- GREATER NY HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION, SUBSIDIARIES & AFFILIATES — $1,158,026
- NEW YORK STATE UNITED TEACHERS — $998,126
- HEALTHCARE ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK STATE — $777,311
- UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC — $752,974
- UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS — $716,467
- NEW YORK STATE TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION — $686,926
Top lobbyists earning the most from January through June 2016 are:
- KASIRER LLC — $5,271,566
- BROWN & WEINRAUB, PLLC — $4,373,742
- BOLTON ST. JOHNS, LLC — $4,279,175
- JAMES F. CAPALINO & ASSOCIATES, INC. — $3,784,366
- PARK STRATEGIES, LLC — $3,707,603
- GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP — $3,306,743
- WILSON ELSER MOSKOWITZ EDELMAN & DICKER, LLP — $3,174,059
- HINMAN STRAUB ADVISORS, LLC — $2,879,833
- MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS, LLP — $2,422,608
- OSTROFF ASSOCIATES, INC. — $2,287,442