Corporate lobbyists, trade groups and advocacy organizations have in recent years increasingly turned their attention to state legislatures, rather than the gridlocked federal government, to promote their agendas. In many states, the number of registered lobbyists in the statehouses far outnumber those making the laws. Nationally, special interests outnumber lawmakers by a ratio of six to one.
In Ohio, there are 13 registered lobbyists for every state legislator, according to a study just published by the Center for Public Integrity in conjunction with the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Ohio ranks eighth in the lobbyist-to-legislator ratio.
Among the top players lobbying the state’s General Assembly members are AT&T Inc. which nationally has been trying to expand its voice-over Internet business at the expense of landlines; the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio; and First Energy Corp, the giant utility which successfully lobbied in recent years for a reduction in renewable energy requirements.