Oil lobby leads list of top spenders in 2014

Sacramento Business Journal, January 3, 2015 →

California’s oil and gas industry kept its long-running title as the biggest employer of lobbyists in California last year, according to numbers released this week by the California Secretary of State.

The top spender for 2014 was the Western States Petroleum Association. It spent $8.9 million on lobbying last year, almost double what the organization spent the prior year.

Much of that money funded efforts to reverse regulations that would place transportation fuels into the state’s cap-and-trade program. The association helped bankroll grassroots organizations with names such as Fed Up At The Pump, which warned that California greenhouse gas emission program would raise gas prices.

The campaign was challenged by record drops in fuel prices. As the year came to a close, the petroleum association acknowledged that repealing the regulation after it went into effect presented a greater challenge.

KP Public Affairs, which represents clients in health care, aerospace manufacturing and other issues, was the top lobbying firm by revenue in both the final quarter of 2014 and the entire year. The firm was bolstered by new clients in Internet technology last year, adding Lyft and Airbnb, said Patrick George, a director at KP.

Next year, the firm will continue to focus on health care and technology, and expects legislative debates on telemedicine, which combines both subject areas. One policy issue is privacy concerns around electronically transferable health records, George said.

“Legislators are looking at those issues, and organizations that have a stake in that want their voices heard,” he said.

  • Top lobbying employers by expenditures in 2014
  • Western States Petroleum Association — $8.9 million
  • California State Council of Service Employees — $5.9 million
  • Chevron Corp. and its subsidiaries — $4.3 million
  • California Chamber of Commerce — $3.9 million
  • California Hospital Association and California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems — $3 million
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. — $2.8 million
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its affiliated entities — $1.9 million
  • California Medical Association — $1.9 million
  • California School Employees Association — $1.8 million
  • California Manufacturers and Technology Association — $1.7 million