California government sector lobbying

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Taxpayer-funded lobbying is government to government lobbying. counties, cities, school districts, public facilities, and associations of public employees frequently use public funds to influence legislation and appropriations at the state and federal levels.

This practice is controversial because public funds are spent to lobby for an agenda not subject to direct approval by voters, and outcomes may be contrary taxpayers benefit.

Journalist Dirk Werkman wrote in 1997 that the "Spending Lobby," what he calls taxpayer-funded lobbyists, "seek funding to carry out state mandates."[1]

"$59,396,100 were siphoned from the hundreds of millions of tax dollars these entities received during 1995-96 to provide police and other city services and to educate students. Instead, tax dollars were spent to obtain more tax dollars, or to block or seek new regulations."[1]


Lobbying by California governments for 2007 and 2008 is a significant portion of the total lobbying in the state. Lobbying by governments in California comprises 16.8% of total lobbying, or $92.6 of $552.6 million of total lobbying in California.[2] A more inclusive definition of "governments" changes increases the total for government sector lobbying to almost a quarter of total lobbying.

Federal lobbying

California entities spent an estimated $20.7 in 2008 lobbying the federal government.[2] This number is significantly less than what California governments spend on lobbying within the state. Lobbying the federal government by state and local entities totaled $84.2 million for all states combined that year.[2]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

The League of California Cities gave $4.8 million to the campaign to defeat California Proposition 90 (2006), an eminent domain reform initiative. This represented 32.9% of the total money spent to defeat Prop. 90, and it was paid for by taxpayers. (See also Taxpayer-funded lobbying.)[3]

The following is a list of California government sector lobbying associations by type:

City and municipal


Emergency services


Local governments

Parks and recreation

Public employees



Teachers and faculty

Other education and development



  1. 1.0 1.1 "The 'Spending Lobby' Swings a Well-Financed Stick," Cal-Tax Digest, November 1997
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 State-Level Lobbying and Taxpayers: How Much Do We Really Know?, Pacific Research Institute
  3. Follow the Money on Proposition 90