2008′s Top Lobbyists More or Less the Same as 2007′s

ALBANY—The Commission on Public Integrity released its 2008 Annual Report, which shows, unsurprisingly that the amount of money spent on lobbying–and the number of lobbyists–has gone up again.

"There's no surprise here," said Blair Horner, a longtime good-government advocate with NYPIRG. "The number of legislators stays the same but the number of lobbyists continues to mushroom. If they all showed up one day, it would cause gridlock."

Overall, the total amount spent on lobbying increased to $173.9 million this year, up from $171 million last year. There are now 6,624 registered lobbyists.

The top firm, for the twelfth straight year, is Wilson Elser. Patricia Lynch Associates, which has been subpoenaed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, came in second. The pecking order hasn't changed much since last year, this chart shows.

Horner noted that this is the second year in which the lobbying report's release has not been accompanied by a press conference. Not making a big announcement is in the tradition of the former Ethics Commission, according to Walter Ayres, a spokesperson.

When he took office, Eliot Spitzer merged the Ethics Commission with the Lobbying Commission to form the Commission on Public Integrity.