Group backing same-sex marriage tops lobbyist spending at state Capitol

Lobbyists at the Minnesota Capitol (MPR photo/ Tom Scheck)

MN United, a group that successfully worked to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota, reports today that it spent $1.6 million to lobby the Legislature this year.

The report filed today with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board shows that MN United spent the most of any group to lobby the Legislature. The amount does not include spending on lobbyist salaries. MN United Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom told MPR News that the group spent more than $2 million when salaries are included.

Minnesota for Marriage, which lobbied against the same-sex marriage bill, reported spending $211,264 on lobbying.

Business groups also spent big during the 2013 legislative session. The Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership report spending nearly $2.1 million on lobbying. Those groups opposed tax hikes enacted by Gov. Dayton and the DFL-controlled Legislature.  The Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber combined forces to run TV ads under the banner of the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses.

A coalition of labor unions reported spending $1.1 million on lobbying. The issues unions supported included  increased funding for schools, giving long-term care workers a raise and allowing in-home day care workers and personal care assistants to vote to join a union.  All three became law.

Xcel Energy spent $1.2 million lobbying the Legislature,  the Dayton administration and the Public Utilities Commission. The utility has been lobbying the PUC to increase utility rates.

The National Rifle Association reported spending $95,338 to successfully defeat legislation that would require background checks on gun purchases and other gun control measures. Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, which worked to pass gun control legislation, reported spending $3,845.

Here’s a look at the bigger spenders in 2013:

Group Money spent to influence legislative action Money spent to influence administrative action Total spending
MN United 1,606,834.96 1,606,834.96
Xcel Energy (Richard Evans) 83,005.33 1,195,946 1,278,951.33
MN Chamber 653,354.52 221,435.42 874,789.94
Coalition of MN Businesses 671,990.91 671,990.91
Education Minnesota 658,638.79 658,638.79
MN Business Partnership 535,420.50 535,420.5
AFSCME Council 5 217,897 217,897
MN For Marriage 211,264.74 211,264.74
MN Nurses Association 101,358 101,358
National Rifle Association 95,338.08 95,338.08
SEIU MN State Council 90,247.49 90,247.49
MN Hospital Association 84,012.72 84,012.72
MN Catholic Conference 30,791.26 30,791.26
Project 515 29,797.81 29,797.81
OutFront MN 25,138.94 25,138.94
MN AFL-CIO 22,629.98 22,629.98
SEIU Health Care 15,284.53 15,284.53
Miller Coors 15,000 15,000
Citizens for a Safer Minnesota 3,845 3,845
Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance No report filed