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Recession may have dampened but did not halt lobbying expenses

Rosalind Helderman

Spending by Virginia lobbyists dropped by 25 percent this year from last, according to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics.

According VPAP, lobbying expenses reported on financial financial disclosure forms covering the period from May 2008 through April 2009, show lobbying expenses dropped to $14.95 million from $19.84 million in 2007-2008.

But the reason for the drop is not entirely clear. Surely, the recession played a role, limiting the amount lobbyists could spending wining and dining and wooing Virginia lawmakers on behalf of their clients. Entertainment expenses by lobbyists dropped from $1.13 million to $793,000.

But part of the drop might be explained simply because lobbyists reported their expenses this year from last. And lawmakers considered a couple of topics during the legislation session of 2008 that drew particularly heavy lobbying investment, issues that were not on the agenda in 2009.

VPAP notes that nearly half of the $4.9 million decline in lobbying expenses came from the payday lending industry, which makes sense since the issue was much more of a hot topic during the 2008 session than the 2009 one.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 16, 2009; 2:16 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2009 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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