Around $51.7 million was spent in 2012 on lobbying in Connecticut, according to a reportby the Office of State Ethics.
There were 1,077 registered lobbyists in the state last year, as well as 727 in-house communicators and 109 individual communicators. Of the $51.7 million spent, 77 percent of it went toward legislative lobbying while the rest went to administrative lobbying, the state said in a news release.
Of the total amount, $35.6 million went to compensating the lobbyists, the state said.
Lobbyists, also referred to as special interests, often attempt to influence lawmakers in enacting legislation that may benefit their industries.
The top five issues lobbied in 2012 were the following:
- Hospitals and healthcare systems.
- Government, including revenue, taxation and budgets.
- Human services for adults and children.
- Environment involving recycling and pollution.
The state also said it will conduct an audit of 10 lobbyists from a pool of registered "client lobbyists." This is someone who is expending or agreeing to expending the $2,000 registration fee in a calendar year for lobbying, the state said.
“Connecticut’s lobbying laws are in place to prevent corruption and provide transparency by showing the citizens of the state who is spending money on lobbying, what issues are being targeted, and how the money is being spent," said Carol Carson, executive director of the Office of State Ethics. “The audits, which were reduced from 40 per year to 10 because of budget cuts, ensure that reporting is accurate.”
Once the audit happens, the state will post the list of names on its website, ct.gov/ethics, likely before the end of the fiscal year.