Record amount spent lobbying Kentucky legislature last year
Biggest spender, Chamber of Commerce, successfully sought cuts in state income tax and unemployment benefits
FRANKFORT — A record amount of nearly $24.3 million was spent lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly in 2022, according to reports filed by the hundreds of corporations, associations and other groups registered to lobby the legislature.
Reports filed by the groups show that the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce continues to be the biggest-spending group in trying to influence Kentucky lawmakers. According to totals posted on the website of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, the chamber reported $408,301 on legislative lobbying in 2022.
The chamber last year saw passage of two of its priority bills: House Bill 8 which reduced the state income tax and House Bill 4 which restricted unemployment benefits.
Records on the ethics commission website show the Kentucky Hospital Association reported spending the second largest amount on lobbying last year at $304,707. Tobacco company Altria Client Services, parent of Philip Morris USA, was third at $269,685.
The ethics commission website also posts a list of how much individual lobbyists were paid last year, and the lobbyist who was paid the most in 2022 was John McCarthy, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky. According to the ethics commission website, McCarthy was paid $967,727 by the nearly 100 different groups he represents.
These numbers, all from the ethics commission website, could inch up slightly because a few groups had not yet filed reports disclosing their spending in the final five months of 2022.
Here are the 20 groups that reported spending the most on lobbying the General Assembly in 2022:
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Frankfort, business association, $408,301
Kentucky Hospital Association, Louisville, hospital association, $304,707
Altria Client Solutions, Richmond, Va., tobacco, other issues, $269,685
ACLU of Kentucky, Louisville, $195,489
Kentucky Medical Association, Louisville, doctors, $157,416
Kentucky League of Cities, Frankfort, city government association, $151,308
HCA Healthcare, Nashville, hospitals, $146,548
Pharmaceutical Care Management Assn., Washington, D.C., pharmacy benefit managers, $142,257
Kentucky Retail Federation, Frankfort, retail stores, $142,237
Pace-O-Matic of Kentucky, Duluth, Ga., maker of games sometimes referred to as “gray machines,”$136,416
Kentucky Distillers Association, Frankfort, bourbon distillers association, $135,624
Healthcare Distribution Alliance, Arlington, Va., pharmaceutical issues, $128,578
Academic Partnerships LLC, Dallas, education, $127,500
LG&E and KU Energy, Louisville, electric utility, $121,669
Greater Louisville Inc., Louisville, business association, $117,512
Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Louisville, insurance, $115,972
LifePoint Health, Brentwood, Tenn., hospitals, $110,002
AT&T, Louisville, telecommunications, $109,618
Houchens Industries, Bowling Green, groceries, road construction, other, $107,770
Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, Lexington, petroleum, $106,161
Here is a list of the 20 people who were paid the most money to lobby the General Assembly in 2022, according to the ethics commission website. Each of these lobbyists represents many different clients. Below each name and dollar amount is the number of clients the lobbyist currently represents along with three examples of the lobbyists clients:
John McCarthy, $967,727
96 clients including Altria Client Services, Pfizer, and Stride Inc.
Patrick Jennings, $706,775
60 clients including Stronach Group, Kentucky Hospital Assn., and The Jockey Club
Bob Babbage, $704,300
37 clients including Cash Express, Pearson Education Ltd., and Kentucky Lions Eyebank
Stephen Huffman, $659,000
23 clients including Revolutionary Racing, The Red Mile and IGT
Ronny Pryor, $651,850
10 clients including HCA Healthcare, Gainwell Technologies, and LifePoint Health
Sean Cutter, $642,729
51 lients including Keeneland Association, RAI Services, and U.S. WorldMeds
Chris Nolan, $567,236
52 clients including Amgen Inc., Service Contract Industry Council, and Teledoc Health
Jason Bentley, $527,179
46 clients including Amgen Inc., Kentucky distillers Assn., RAI Services
Amy Wickliffe, $511,046
85 clients including Churchill Downs, Kentucky American Water, and Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance
Karen Thomas-Lentz, $488,750
47 clients including Swisher International, EPIC Pharmacies, and CSX Corp.
James M. Higdon, $488,176
51 clients including Service Contract Industry Council, Lexis Learning Systems, LG&E and KU Energy
Trey Grayson, $485,651
30 clients including Academic Partnerships LLC, Lancaster Colony Corp., and Secure Elections Project
Steve Robertson, $477,117
30 clients including Secure Elections Project, Academic Partnerships LLC, and Wellpath
Laura Owens, $460,750
32 clients including Uber Technologies, Dealertrack Registration and Titling Solutions, and Baptist Health
John Cooper, $419,640
30 clients including Toyota Motor North America, Kentucky Medical Assn., Kentucky Bankers Assn.
Jason Underwood, $417,500
7 clients including heaven Hill Distilleries, Cannon Cochran Management, and American Wagering
Kelly Abell, $389,334
25 clients including Brightspring Health, McKesson Corp., and Philanthropy Roundtable
Katherine Hall, $363,215
58 clients including Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, EmsanaRx., and Stronach Group
Mike Biagi, $322,478
19 clients including Kentucky Downs, Philanthropy Roundtable, and Appalachian Racing
Leigh Thacker, $314,037
31 clients including Sportsbetting Alliance, Kentucky Press Assn., and Mountain Comprehensive Care.
This story was originally published by the Kentucky Lantern.