The State of State Lobbying

"Vested interests are working harder than ever to achieve their goals in state capitols and state agencies across the country," reports the Center for Public Integrity. The organization's review of 2004 lobbying activities found that nearly $953 million was spent "attempting to influence state legislators and executive branch officials" in the 42 states that track such spending. Twenty-five states saw an increase in lobbying expenditures. State-level lobbying has grown to the point where there are now, on average, "five lobbyists and almost $130,000 in expenditures per state legislator." Several states did boost their oversight of lobbying last year, by strengthening registration and disclosure requirements, establishing a "cooling-off period" for former lawmakers planning to become lobbyists, or restricting lobbyists' gifts to public officials.