Groups spent $18 million to lobby the Capitol during the first six months of the year, a slight uptick from the last time a budget was before lawmakers, according to a WisPolitics.com check of lobbying reports.
Though interest groups spent $132,651 more during the first part of 2021, they put in 2,830 fewer hours lobbying with the Capitol still under COVID-related restrictions for much of the period. The spending includes not only time spent in the Capitol but communications as well as preparation for lobbying such as research or studies that go into their efforts.
The usual suspects topped spending on lobbying expenses during the period, including Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce at No. 1 with $404,539 spent. The Wisconsin Realtors Association was No. 2 for spending at $391,026.
Rounding out the top five in spending over the first half of 2021 were: the Wisconsin Hospital Association, $367,778; Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, $238,309; and Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, $203,319.
The top five were largely the same as for the first half of 2019 with one exception: the Wisconsin Credit Union League was No. 4 during the first half of that year, but dropped to No. 15 to start this session.