Brown & Weinraub once again tops list of state lobbying firms

Bolton-St. Johns took second place, while Kasirer dropped to third.

The New York State Capitol building in Albany.

The New York State Capitol building in Albany. Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images

New York hit a new record high on lobbying spending in 2023 according to the state’s ethics watchdog, with a lobbying effort by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg taking a top spot among spenders last year.

In its annual lobbying report, the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government found that groups trying to sway government policy spent a total of $360.6 million on lobbying efforts last year. That’s the highest recorded amount in the state’s history, and the second year in a row to set a new record. The commission reported $331.54 million spent in 2022.

There was a slight shake-up in the list of the top professional lobbyists. Brown & Weinraub once again held the top professional lobbyist spot, bringing in $21.15 million in compensation. Bolton-St. Johns moved up from its third place spot in 2022 to second place in 2023 with $17.47 million paid to the group. Kasirer dropped slightly from its old second place position to third place with $16.54 million.

The rest of the top ten was rounded out with the usual suspects, including Greenberg Traurig in fourth place and Ostroff Associates in fifth. Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno returned to the top earners’ list for the first time since 2018, taking seventh place. The Mirram Group, which held the tenth place spot in 2022, was missing from the top ten this time.

Health care issues dominated the top lobbying spending last year. The 1199SEIU-affiliated Health Care Education Project took the top spot, spending $8.3 million on its lobbying efforts. The organization maintained its position from 2022, but increased its spending from $5.7 million that year. The Greater New York Hospital Association, another frequent flier among Albany top lobbiers, ranked third with $4.7 million spent. Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund came in at sixth on the list, and AARP ranked ninth.

American Opportunity, a newcomer to the top lobbying clients list, ranked second, knocking the Greater New York Hospitals Association from the number-two position it held in 2022. The Bloomberg-funded group promoted Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget priorities in 2023, the first year of her full term after a tough election. The former New York City mayor gave the group $5 million, which represented nearly the entirety of American Opportunity’s cash. It spent nearly all of that money, with the commission recording $4.7 million in expenses. According to the lobbying report, the group reported efforts on a variety of issues including the state budget, criminal justice and economic development.