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State ethics panel finds $220 million spent on lobbying in 2011

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The seemingly-recession-proof business of lobbying grew once again in New York last year. The state's ethics panel has announced it found a total of $220 million was spent to influence the governor and members of the legislature. In Albany, Karen DeWitt has the details:

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Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent


The newly formed state ethics commission, championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, found that a lobbying group closely associated with the Governor’s policies,  The Committee to Save New York was the biggest spender in 2011. The group, made up of business interests,  financed  nearly $12 million worth of lobbying and advertising  campaigns.  In second place, is the health care workers union SEIU 1199, which spent nearly $7 million on lobbying. Most of the largest lobbying clients were health care or education concerns. 

Also on the top ten lobbying expenditure list- Walmart, and New Yorkers United for Marriage.  The state approved gay marriage in June.  Among the highest paying clients- the gambling conglomerate Genting, which wants to expand the Aqueduct race track, and Rudin Management, a major real estate firm.
The top lobbying firms include many with ties to government leaders. For example the firm of the Assembly Speaker’s former press secretary, Patricia Lynch Associates, netted nearly $8 million from lobbying clients. 

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