A report from the State Ethics Board shows over $17 million and 141,000 hours were spent lobbying the state legislature in the first six months of 2007. Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin says it's not surprising, since the state budget remains a key issue at the Capitol. He says many special interest groups are focused on how tax dollars are spent and what types of policies and programs are included.
The top three spenders were the Wisconsin Hospitals Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Wisconsin Education Association Council. The dollars spent are from lobbyists meeting with lawmakers and testifying before committees.
Heck says the normal citizens can't keep up with such heavy spending. He says that's because many lobbyists are tied to special interests that donate heavily to campaigns, giving them easier access to lawmakers.