Lobbyists will spend again next year

Money for nothing
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  August 9, 2006

The Massachusetts legislature wrapped up its 2005–’06 session without taking action on auto-insurance reform — which is good news for the Massachusetts economy, because the lobbyists will be back spending more money on the issue next session.

Lobbyists were good to Bay Staters this year. Auto-insurance-industry lobbyists have already spent more than $4 million on the issue since the start of this year, according to state records, with six of the state’s 10 biggest spenders lobbying primarily on that one issue (most for reform, some against). The state’s nurses union was another top-10 spender on the lobbying list, getting a staffing-level bill through the House — but so was the association of state hospitals, which defeated the bill in the state Senate.

  Rounding out the top 10 in the first half of ’06 were MassEquality, which was fighting to defeat an amendment banning gay marriage, and the always high-spending Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Last year’s lobbying was dominated by groups seeking to influence the health-care reform legislation that ultimately passed this March. (See “Your Health is in Their Hands,” News and Features, March 16.) Those groups considerably decreased their spending this year — although they collectively still spent well over a million dollars.

For the 2005–’06 session as a whole, the health-care and auto-insurance bills put a new set of names atop the list of highest-spending lobbyists, as shown below. Many traditional lobbying powerhouses — Verizon, NSTAR, Massachusetts Municipal Association, and the pharmaceutical and tobacco companies — didn’t even make the top 20. But don’t worry; they’ll be back when they need something else.

  Topics: This Just In , U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, Politics,  More more >
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Rank/Prev

Name

’05–’06

lobbying interest

1/x

Massachusetts Insurance Federation

$2,944,875

auto insurance

2/12

Massachusetts Nurses Association

$1,634,921

nurse staffing

3/1

Massachusetts Teachers Association

 $1,304,870

labor

4/5

Massachusetts Hospital Association

$1,096,093

nurse staffing, health care

5/3

Retired State, City and Municipal Employees

$942,352

labor

6/4

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

$876,234

health care

7/6

MassEquality

$856,371

marriage amendment

8/x

Partners Healthcare

$686,357

health care

9/2

Massachusetts Medical Society

$647,360

malpractice

10/7

Life Insurance Association

$582,419

health care

11/x

Liberty Mutual

$572,952

auto insurance

12/x

Commerce Insurance

$510,504

auto insurance

13/18

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts

$507,056

health care

14/x

Retailers Association

$502,733

health care

15/10

Northeast Utilities

$500,718

energy

16/x

Hanover Insurance

$499,407

auto insurance

17/13

Mass Mutual Life Insurance

$492,687

health care

18/x

Premier Insurance

$477,802

auto insurance

19/9

AFSCME

$461,963

labor

20/x

MetLife

$444,841

auto insurance

21/x

Altria

$443,622

tobacco

22/11

Eli Lilly

$433,927

pharmaceutical

23/x

Property Casualty Insurance Association

$401,715

auto insurance

24/x

Harvard Pilgrim

$392,631

health care

25/x

BayState Health

$370,082

health care

31/x

Amica Mutual

$337,500

auto insurance

Rank = Rank in spending on lobbying activity, from January 2005 to June 2006
Prev = Rank in spending on lobbying activity, from January 2003 to June 2004
x = Not previously listed in the top 25.
ARTICLES BY DAVID S. BERNSTEIN
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