Across the country, national companies and causes, from Uber to pharmaceutical manufacturers, are turning their lobbying power onto state legislatures where they seek a better chance of influencing decisions than in Washington. The Alabama Legislature, now in session in Montgomery, is no stranger to this new attention.
From 2010 through 2014, Alabama’s 140 senators and representatives were the focus of six times that many entities pushing their messages and protecting their interests in Montgomery.
These are findings of a just-released study by the Center for Public Integrity, a national government watchdog group. The study analyzed the numbers on five years of lobbyist registrations from all 50 states to determine which interests have the broadest reach around the country and which dominate each state.
In Alabama, interests with the most lobbyists in statehouse halls during 2010- 2014 are familiar names: Alabama Education Association; Southern Company, parent of Alabama Power Co.; AT&T Inc.; Business Council of Alabama, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the study found. (The Center consolidated subsidiary corporations under their parent corporations.)
On average from 2010 through 2014, AEA had 29 lobbyists registered each year, Public Integrity reports.
But Alabama was also in the sights of less familiar national suitors. On CPI’s list of groups with the broadest lobbying reach, 21 entities lobbied in all 50 states including, of course, Alabama. And Alabama also shows up on the rosters of six groups with national lobbying strategies highlighted by the study.
Who’s interested in influencing the Alabama Legislature? Those lobbying about health products or policies, for sure. According to the Center for Public Integrity study, a third of entities lobbying in all 50 states were health-related.
The Alabama Ethics Commission’s latest list of registered lobbyists – updated through the end of 2015 – reflects that robust lobbying continues in the state. The 100-page document includes more than 600 individuals and groups registered as lobbyists. Many represent just one client; one of the best-known, Fine Geddie & Associates, LLC, represents 45 clients.
A check of the first 20 pages of this alphabetical list shows clients with more than one lobbyist include Alabama Education Association, Alabama Power Co., and AT&T Alabama. More than 20 client names indicate they are national organizations.
You can see the list of registered Alabama lobbyists and their clients here: http://ethics.alabama.gov/news/2015_Lobb_List_Arch_12_31_15.pdf