Just two influential business groups together spent $3.4 million lobbying the 2015 Legislature, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. 

The Chamber of Commerce led the way with about $2.2 million, while the Business Partneship, comprising Fortune 500 companies like Target and General Mills, spent $1.2 million lobbying for member priorities. 

The business groups were followed by the teachers union, Education Minnesota, which spent nearly $1 million. 

All three groups were largely successful at the Legislature last year. A coalition of rural DFLers in the Senate and House Republicans rolled back some environmental policies that business found overly restrictive, and business was largely content with fiscal restraint compared to recent years.  

The teachers union won a significant increase in education spending. 

Rounding out the top 10 lobbying spenders were the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, which tried, often unsuccesfully, to win more money for outstate priorities; the League of Minnesota Cities; Altria, the tobacco conglomerate; a real estate trade assocation, the Koch brothers' Flint Hills Resources; Xcel Energy; and, Minnesota Power, a subsidiary of Allete, the Midwestern electric utility. 

In recent decades spending on lobbying the Legislature has remained relatively steady and even dipped some. Total spending in 2015 was $61.9 million, down 15 percent from 2013, the last year in which the Legislature was doing a two year state budget. A number of organizations have not yet filed their reports, so the 2015 figure is not final, however.  

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