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Altria leads list of biggest-spending lobbyists

Altria spent the most in the last legislative year in lobbying Virginia public officials, according to the annual report by the Virginia Public Access Project. The holding company that has Philip Morris USA as its principal asset spent $328,848, according to VPAP.

A name that isn’t but so well known, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, was next at $311,942. NVTC says it is the membership association for the Northern Virginia technology community.

Rounding out the top five are more familiar suspects: Verizon at $259,071, the Virginia Association of Health Plans at $246,461, and Dominion at $241,959.

Those five are clearly the big dogs in the lobbying game because there’s a drop of almost $100,000 to the next entity, the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. In fact, there’s a bigger drop between fifth and sixth place than there is between the VADA at $146,419 and the 25th largest contributor, the Virginia Independent Power Producers at $92,306.

Here’s a link to the top 25 spenders.

VPAP warns that its numbers aren’t but so reliable. “Lobbyist disclosure laws are general in nature and therefore, in practice, lobbyists report expenditures in different ways,” the organization says. The state had 885 registered lobbyists for the May 2009 to April 2010 reporting period.

We warn you that once you click on one of the numbers and start drilling down through the links to individual lobbyists and types of expenditures, a morning can disappear pretty quickly.
By Alan Cooper

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