Education groups lead the way in state lobbying spending in 2015

Education groups dominated state spending on lobbying in New York last year.

The group that spent the most on lobbying state government in 2015 was Invest in Education Coalition, Inc., which paid out $5.08 million, according to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ annual lobbying report released this month.

The nonprofit’s mission is in “promoting improvement in K-12 education, increasing educational choice, and working to close gaps in educational achievement,” according to its website. The New York State United Teachers, StudentsFirst New York Advocacy, Inc. and Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy all were among the top 10 spenders last year.

Education has been a high-profile issue in New York in recent years after botched the implementation of the Common Core standards and related state tests. Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to tie a new teacher evaluation system to the controversial state tests, a move he ultimately back away from after facing steep political backlash.

Parents of students have been opting out of the state tests in large numbers. Last year, 20 percent of students opted out of the state tests. The most recent participation rates have not been made public, but there is some indication that opt-out figures remain high, at least in some parts of the state.

In 2015, the top state lobbying firms were Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP, which spent $10.5 million last year, Kasirer LLC and Brown & Weinraub, PLLC. Park Strategies ranked sixth in spending in 2015, a drop from 2014, when the firm was ranked the second-highest by total compensation.

The report found that compensation for state lobbying in 2015 totaled $243 million, up from $225 million the year before.

The top ten lobbying spenders spent more than $26 million, or about 11 percent of all lobbying spent in New York. Eighty percent of that spending was allocated for advertising or other expenses.

Other groups included in the top 10 highest spenders was the New York City and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corporation, Greater NY Hospital Association and the Rent Stabilization Association. 

The report can be found here.

A full list of the top 10 spenders is below:

1. Invest in Education Coalition: $5,081,146

2. New York State United Teachers: $4,613,643

3. New York City and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corporation: $3,061,602

4. Greater NY Hospital Association: $2,769,797

5. StudentsFirst New York: $2,422,029

6. Putting New Yorkers to Work: $2,026,882

7. Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy Inc.: $1,744,442

8. Families for Excellent Schools, Inc.: $1,636,526

9. United University Professions: $1,535,119

10. Rent Stabilization Association: $1,391,506

Here are the top 10 state lobbyists in 2015, by compensation:

1. Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP: $10,535,999

2. Kasirer LLC: $9,201,668

3. Brown & Weinraub, PLLC: $8,303,382

4. Bolton St. Johns, LLC: $8,279,464

5. Capalino, James F. & Associates, Inc.: $7,349,404

6. Park Strategies, LLC: $6,949,829

7. Greenberg Traurig, LLC: $5,939,399

8. Hinman Straub Advisors, LLC: $5,365,440

9. Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: $4,685,613

10. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP: $4,498,399