Lobbyists Continue To Spend Big In Frankfort

The Kentucky General Assembly may not be in session, but corporate lobbying expenditures continue unabated.

The legislature’s regular session ended April 15th. A six-day special session on the budget ended May 29th. But lobbying expenditures continue.

From the beginning of May to the end of August, 20 companies and organizations spent nearly $800,000 lobbying Kentucky lawmakers.

The top spender – at more than $90,000 – was Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris. Other big spenders were the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, University Health Care, Keeneland Association, Houchens Industries and the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

The Legislative Branch Ethics Commission says since January, almost $12 million has been spent on more than 600 lobbyists often found in Frankfort.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.