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Altria the top-spending lobbyist for the year?

Rosalind Helderman

The Virginia Public Access Project has compiled a list of the top-spending lobbyists for the past year, based on forms submitted by lobbyists to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office last week.

Cigarette-maker Altria tops the list, followed by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Verizon.

The list is an interesting way to track Richmond's heavy hitters, although reporting requirements for lobbyists are so vague that the numbers aren't incredibly helpful.

Every lobbying firm reports its expenses differently, so there's no real way to get an apples-to-apples comparison between the groups.

Much of the Northern Virginia Technology Council's budget, for instance, comes from hosting two big events in Northern Virginia that some lobbying firms would not report since they are not intended to promote a position on a particular piece of legislation.

Americans for Prosperity came in seventh on the list, but that's partly because the group included paid advertising in its communications budget. Other firms don't do the same.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  August 30, 2010; 4:56 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate  
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