The year 2021 was a year of transition in New York State government and lobbying activities. By the early months of 2022 some signs of normalcy returned. That is reflected in the amount of lobbying activity.
Total statewide spending on lobbying activities through May 2022 was up $24.1 million or 9.2 percent from the previous year. The 2021 total is down just one percent from pre-pandemic 2019. In the 2021 reporting year, through May 2022, a total of $292.2 million was spent on lobbying work in the state
The most recent report, for the year 2021, was published by JCOPE on July 7th. JCOPE is now out of business, having been replaced by the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (CELG).
Here are some other highlights from JCOPE’s report:
- Labor was the biggest focus among this year’s top ten highest spending lobbying entities, including Doordash – the online food ordering and delivery platform – which appeared in the top ten for the first time, ranked at number nine. Labor was also a large focus for other top ten entities, including Greater New York Hospital Association (ranked #1), AARP (ranked #3), NYS Nurses Association (ranked #6), NYS Trial Lawyers Association (ranked #7), and NYS United Teachers (ranked #8).
- The top ten lobbyists in 2021 were led once again by Brown & Weinraub, PLLC, followed by Kasirer LLC and Bolton St. Johns, LLC. Rounding out the top ten in 2021 were Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Mercury Public Affairs LLC; Ostroff Associates, Inc.; Park Strategies, LLC; Hinman Straub Advisors, LLC; Constantinople & Vallone Consulting LLC; and James F. Capalino & Associates.
- The number of [lobbyist] registrations increased slightly from 5,740 in 2020 to 5,747 in 2021… In addition, the number of clients dropped to 4,486 in 2021, a decrease of 3.9% from 2020. This might suggest that although fewer clients lobbied in 2021 than in 2020, they paid more to lobby than they did in the previous year.
- The number of public corporations that registered and filed as lobbyists or filed reports as clients of lobbyists increased slightly, from 58 in 2020 to 59 in 2021, which remains significantly less than the 76 that lobbied in 2019… Notably, the percentage of registrations reporting lobbying at both the State and local levels increased to over 40 percent in 2021, versus 32.7 percent in 2020 and 13.5 percent in 2019. State-only lobbying accounted for nearly half of all lobbying at 49.9% in 2021 compared to 68% in 2020, and 62% in 2019.
This blog has reviewed the list of Western New York firms and organizations that employed lobbyists beginning with activities in 2014 and continuing every year since then. You can use this blog’s search tool on the homepage to look up previous years’ posts. The financial reports published by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) have become less user friendly over the past several years. For example, the addresses of lobbyist clients, which is helpful in identifying local organizations, is no longer published. The list of lobbyist clients is about 400 pages long.
This post drills down to the firms, governments and organizations based in Western New York employing lobbyists or doing their own lobbying work in 2021 continuing through reporting in May 2022. Total spending by identifiable local firms, governments, and organizations in 2021 was approximately $4 million, a decrease of approximately $800,000 or 16 percent compared to 2020. As has been the case in recent years, the local lobbying business is led by the firm of Masiello, Martucci and Associates, which had $1,363,000 in identifiable local billings last year. O’Donnell & Associates (OA) was second at $638,754. E3Communications came in third at $254,816.
It should be noted that lobbyist firms with local connections are often retained by businesses and organizations that do not have a Western New York base. Out of Western New York lobbying clients can add significant revenues to a firm’s income.
A local angle previously unidentified by JCOPE is “Filings Ranked by Parties Lobbied.” The top 24 “Parties Lobbied” includes just six of the 213 state legislators. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who has served in the Assembly for 52 years and is Chair of the very busy Health Committee, comes in at number 10 of the list. Gottfried is retiring at the end of this year. Number 16 on the list is Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. A total of 715 contact filings were reported concerning Kennedy.
Kennedy is also high on another list kept by a state agency. The Board of Elections reported in July that Kennedy has more than $2 million in his campaign treasury, which is likely more than what all other local state legislators have combined in their campaign accounts. This all points to the connection between lobbying activities and campaign fundraising.
Certain firms and organizations basically represent themselves in the lobbying work and are noted without an identified lobbyist in the following list.
Here is the 2021 list of local lobbying participants (Note: the list is most easily viewed on a computer or tablet):
|Albright Knox Gallery||Masiello Martucci||18,000|
|Albright Knox Gallery||O’Donnell & Associates||18,000|
|Bassett Healthcare Network||Lippes Mathias||84,000|
|Bflo. & Erie Co. Botanical Gardens||Masiello Martucci||13,500|
|Bflo. Niagara Medical Campus||Masiello Martucci||6,000|
|Buffalo & Pittsburgh RR||Harter Secrest Emery||16,099|
|Buffalo Cannabis Co.||Upstate Strategic Advisors||8,000|
|Buffalo City Cemetery||Featherstonhaugh||60,000|
|Buffalo City Cemetery||Masiello Martucci||24,000|
|Buffalo Computer Graphics||Brown & Weinraub||20,288|
|Buffalo PBA||E3 Communications||40,000|
|Buffalo Zoo||Masiello Martucci||27,000|
|Buffalo Zoo||O’Donnell & Associates||22,500|
|CAO of WNY||O’Donnell & Associates||8,000|
|Catholic Health System||120,000|
|Center for Elder Law & Justice||Masiello Martucci||12,000|
|City of Buffalo||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Correctional Officers & PBA||Lippes Mathias||80,614|
|County of Niagara||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Creative Structure Serv.||Masiello Martucci||18,000|
|Delaware North Companies||Bolton St. John||7,757|
|Delaware North Companies||O’Donnell & Associates||109,002|
|Delta Sonic||Masiello Martucci||16,000|
|Developmental Disabilities Alliance||J.R. Drexelius||40,000|
|D’Youville University||Masiello Martucci||90,000|
|ECMC Corp.||Masiello Martucci||48,000|
|Erie County Water Auth.||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Evans Bank||Richardson Mgmt.||30,000|
|Health Care Assn. of WNY||6,147|
|Health Foundation of Cen.&WNY||O’Donnell & Associates||40,000|
|Highmark of W. & NE NY||Hinman Straub||24,708|
|Highmark of W. & NE NY||Manatt, Phelps||27,000|
|Independent Health Association||88,800|
|John W. Danforth Co.||Masiello Martucci||36,000|
|Kaleida Health||Masiello Martucci||108,000|
|Kleinhans Music Hall||E3 Communications||22,000|
|Maid of the Mist||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Main Place Liberty Group||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Medaille College Foundation||O’Donnell & Associates||60,000|
|Modern Corp.||Masiello Martucci||54,000|
|Montante Companies||E3 Communications||78,816|
|National Fuel Gas||E3 Communications||60,000|
|National Fuel Gas||Statewide Public Affairs||50,686|
|National Fuel Gas||114,550|
|New Era Cap Co.||O’Donnell & Associates||60,000|
|Nia.Fron. Anesthesia Services||Lenihan Strategies||9,000|
|Nia.Fron. Auto Dealers Assn.||Harter Secrest, Emery||19,503|
|Niagara Falls Bridge Commission||Bolton St. John||36,954|
|Niagara Falls Bridge Commission||O’Donnell & Associates||72,252|
|Niagara Falls Water Board||Upstate Strategic Advisors||6,000|
|Niagara University||O’Donnell & Associates||45,000|
|OLV Human Services||O’Donnell & Associates||36,000|
|Parkview Health Services||Masiello Martucci||18,000|
|Pegula Sports & Entertainment||121,152|
|People Inc. Foundation||Masiello Martucci||12,000|
|Phillips Lytle||Masiello Martucci||36,000|
|PVS Chemical Solutions||Masiello Martucci||60,000|
|Ralph C. Wilson Foundation||O’Donnell & Associates||60,000|
|Rich Baseball Operations||Masiello Martucci||22,500|
|Rigidized Metals Corp.||O’Donnell & Associates||2,000|
|Rosina Food Products||Masiello Martucci||36,000|
|Roswell Park C.I.||Greenberg Traurig||89,000|
|Save Ontario Shores||Masiello Martucci||12,000|
|Seneca Nation||Bolton St. John||165,869|
|Seneca Nation||Hinman Straub||121,095|
|Seneca Nation||Masiello Martucci||120,000|
|Shea’s O’Connell Guild||Masiello Martucci||30,000|
|Sinatra & Co.||Masiello Martucci||36,000|
|South Buffalo RR||Harter Secrest||16,099|
|St. Bonaventure University||2,500|
|Tac Air||Masiello Martucci||72,000|
|Town of Cheektowaga||O’Donnell & Associates||36,000|
|Trocaire College||E3 Communications||30,000|
|University at Buffalo||240,013|
|Upstate Pharmacy||O’Donnell & Associates||60,000|
|Western Regional OTBC||Upstate Strategic Advisors||42,000|
|Westminster Community Charter||O’Donnell & Associates||10,000|
|Wheatfield Gardens||Richardson Mgmt.||15,000|
|William Schutt||Masiello Martucci||18,000|
|WNY Energy||Park Strategies||36,000|
|WNY Property Owners Coalition||36,000|
Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly