Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Lobbying groups spent more than $11 million at the Minnesota Legislature this past session, according to Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Board. Now, there’s a new player at the top of the spending list.
What you didn’t see when Gov. Mark Dayton signed the same sex marriage bill: The money spent for lobbying by both sides of the historic debate.
IN FACT, Minnesotans United For All Families was the highest spending lobbying group of all in 2013, spending $1,606,834 — including half a million dollars in TV ads.
The Minnesotans United effort overpowered the gay marriage opposition group, Minnesota for Marriage, which spent only $211,264 to fight the bill.
But that’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.
Gay marriage money outstripped Minnesota’s traditional powerhouse business lobby. Minnesotans United outdistanced Xcel Energy, which spent $1,240,683 lobbying the Public Utilities Commission, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which spent $874,789.
Business groups lobbied hard in 2013 against tax hike and spending proposals in the new DFL-dominated legislature and governor’s office and spent $2.1 million in total business lobbying. That includes the Chamber of Commerce money: $671,991 from the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses and $535, 420 from the Minnesota Business Partnership.
That $11.6 million dollars spent on lobbying this year breaks down to $57,810 in lobbying pressure for every legislator.
Now, Minnesotans United has morphed into a political action committee to protect lawmakers who voted yes and may face tough re-election campaigns.