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Auditor Blaha Releases 2022 Local Government Lobbying Services Report - July 18, 2023

Contact: Donald McFarland | 651-236-0494

“There has been an inflation adjusted increase of 18 percent in spending on local lobbying by staff and contract lobbyists”

Saint Paul, MN – “Local government spending on lobbying services rose 13 percent between 2021 and 2022,” said Auditor Blaha. “Driving the change was an additional 24 entities taking on in-house or contract lobbyists.”

“This is in line with longer trends.” Blaha continued. “Over the past five years, there has been an inflation adjusted increase of 18 percent in spending on local lobbying by staff and contract lobbyists.”

The total amount spent by local governments on lobbying includes entities that use their own employees, hire a contract lobbyist, or work with a local government association. The number of those entities increased from 105 in 2021 to 129 in 2022. Among cities alone, the number using lobbying services increased from 48 to 67.

Over the past five years, local government expenditures have increased by 42 percent on staff and contract lobbyists. When adjusted for inflation, the increase is 18 percent.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Local governments spent a total of $11.1 million on lobbying activities in 2022. This represents an increase of $1.2 million, or 13 percent, over the amount spent on lobbying services in 2021. Of the $11.1 million spent on lobbying in 2022, $6.5 million was attributable to local governments using their own staff or hired contract lobbyists, while $4.6 million was attributable to the lobbying activities of associations of local governments.
  • In 2022, 129 local governments (24 more than in 2021) reported that they directly employed staff or hired contract lobbyists. These local governments spent a total of $6.5 million on staff and contract lobbyists. This was $995,123, or 18 percent, more than in 2021.
  • Sixteen of the 129 local governments that directly employed lobbying staff and/or hired contract lobbyists reported over $100,000 in lobbying services expenditures, for a total of $3.2 million. These 16 local governments accounted for 49 percent of the total amount paid to contract and staff lobbyists in 2022.
  • Local governments paid dues of $13.2 million in 2022 to local government associations that also represented their interests before legislative, administrative, or other governmental bodies. These associations spent $4.6 million on lobbyists and lobbying in 2022, an increase of 6 percent over 2021.
  • Among the 25 local government associations that lobbied the Legislature on behalf of their local government members, 13 associations reported expenditures on lobbying/lobbyists in excess of $100,000 in 2022. These 13 associations accounted for $4.0 million, or 88 percent, of the total lobbying expenditures of associations in 2022.

The full report is available on the OSA website.