Lobbying the Maryland Legislature
- Jennifer Bevan Dangel
Overall spending increases, top players remain the same
ANNAPOLIS – The industries spending most heavily to influence decision-makers in Annapolis haven’t changed much in the last three years. But the amount they are spending jumped by almost $2 million this year, according to research by Common Cause Maryland.
“The major lobbies atthe -legislature remained mostly the same in 2015 – healthcare spent the most, followed by energy, development, and business,” observed Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland.
The increasing amount of money spent on lobbying represents a challenge to the ability of individual citizens to make their voices heard in Maryland lawmaking, Bevan-Dangel said. Most citizens lack the time and resources to compete with professional lobbyists, giving the interest groups – and influential lobbyists – significant influence, she added.
The State Ethics Commission releases its summary report on lobbying expenditures twice a year, following each reporting period. These analyses allow the public to track which industries are spending the most.
The 11 industries that spent over $500,000 included:
- Health Care – $4,577,747.00
- Utility and Energy Companies – $1,959,322.88
- Development Companies and Organizations – $1,554,958.20
- Business Groups (chambers, retail, and other industries) – $1,112,659.86
- Gambling Companies – $930,419.90
- Telecom Industry – $816,139.03
- Other* – $$615,366.79
- Universities – $558,505.7
- Education Organizations – $514,499.50
- Automobile Industry – $511,037.56
Other highlights of the reports:
- This year’s total spending reached $18,019,763,; an almost $2 million increase from last year’s $16,845,379.
- Uber Technologies, the innovative and controversial service that enlists car owners to provide taxi rides, emerged as a player in the lobbying scene, spending $127,139 A bill supporting Uber’s business practices was passed last session; Bevan-Dangel said it will be interesting to see if they continue to spend as much now that they have accomplished their goals.
- While just two employers had spent over $300,000 by this time in 2014, that number increased to six this year. Sixteen spent over $200,000 and 58 spent over $100,000.
- The highest spending employer was Maryland State Education Association at $446,242
- Ten new health care lobbyist employers have emerged since 2013
- Gun regulation has disappeared as a lobby issue
- Ten major industries have decreased overall spending since 2013 (gambling, education, religious, retail, insurance, union, tobacco, waste, manufacturing and, defense), but others have more than compensated for their decline.
The ethics report lists employers that reported at least $50,000 in lobbying expenses, as well as lobbyists with $50,000 or more in lobbying income, from November 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015. Common Cause Maryland analyzed the list, categorizing 177 employers into 27 broad industry categories.
The lobbying report totals can be found on the Ethics Commission website at:
Common Cause Maryland’s analysis is available online at http://www.commoncause.org/states/maryland/research-and-reports/2015-lobbyist-report-data.docx
For more information contact:
Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director,
Emily Vitacolonna, Research Intern,