Gay-marriage backers, Philip Morris spent big on lobbying last year
March 18, 2014 — 9:29pm
A new report finds that both the successful campaign to legalize gay marriage and the unsuccessful campaign to stop cigarette and tobacco tax increases spent more than $1 million on lobbying in Minnesota last year.
The report, released Tuesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, shows that the pro-gay marriage Minnesotans United and the Altria Client Services, the parent company for Philip Morris, joined the million dollar spenders for the first time in 2013.
Also appearing on the big spender list -- business groups and the teachers union. With spending of more than $2 million, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce was the single biggest spender on lobbying, as it often is.
Reports to the campaign watchdog agency found that both the Chamber and the Minnesota Business Partnership increased their spending last year. The chamber spent $100,000 more than it had in 2012 and the Business Partnership spent $600,000 more. The Business Partnership spent a total of nearly $1.5 million in 2013.
The two business groups successfully batted back massive proposed business-to-business tax increases in 2013. Some smaller tax increases on businesses transactions with other businesses did pass, however, This year's Legislature is looking at repealing those.
Education Minnesota's lobbying spending came in just behind the business groups, with $1.2 million in spending on lobbying. That, too, constitutes an increase from the year before but is still slightly less than the massive teacher's union spent in 2009.
Interest groups spent less slightly money lobbying state government in 2015 than in the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
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Minnesota business and labor union organizations were among the heaviest spenders on lobbying during the first five months of 2013, which coincided with the Legislature's annual session, according to financial reports made public Tuesday.