Lobbyists must report the dollars spent communicating with members of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Here’s that report for the first half of 2023, when legislators were crafting the state’s 2-year budget.
The crafting of the state’s 2-year budget, running in the tens of billions of dollars, always attracts many parties trying to get their interests represented or funded. But the existence of a historic, $7-billion surplus chummed the waters even more than usual.
Lobbying is the attempt to influence legislative or administrative action with any elective state official, agency official or legislative employee, and includes time spent preparing for such communications and appearances.
Wisconsin has strict lobbying laws, as lobbyists cannot give anything of value to an elected state official, candidate for state elective office, legislative employee, or agency official.
Seeking hundreds of millions in public funding for stadium renovations, the Milwaukee Brewers baseball club led the pack in lobbying spending in the first half of 2023. The Brewers do not regularly lobby the legislature, but have been for the last few years as they try to pry lose funding.
Other top spenders include organizations who represent many interests and are regularly at the top of the lobbying list, including the Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (the state’s chamber of commerce, more commonly known as WMC) and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
The Koch Brothers network has organizations lobbying the legislature, including Americans for Prosperity, their pro-business, political advocacy group.