Monday, February 2, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | The State Ethics Commission has released a report showing how much money was spent on lobbyists in Maryland during an unusually busy period of legislative activity that included the 2007 special General Assembly session and last year’s regular 90-day session.

Pepco Holdings Inc., the utility provider that serves the D.C. area, topped the list, having spent about $723,000 from Nov. 1, 2007, to Oct. 31, 2008, according to the report released Friday

The Maryland Retailers Association came second with about $640,400 in reported lobbying expenses. The Maryland Jockey Club came third, spending $540,000.

The three-week special session that ended in November 2007 resulted in about $1.4 billion in tax increases, including a 1 percent increase in the state’s sales tax, from 5 percent to 6 percent. The session also resulted in a constitutional amendment to legalize slot-machine gambling that voters approved on Election Day.

The Maryland Association of Realtors Inc. spent the fourth-highest sum on lobbying, about $537,000. The Maryland Bankers Association was the fifth-biggest spender, with about $474,300 in lobbying expenses.

Gary Alexander was the top-earning lobbyist with about $1.2 million reported in the period. Joel Rozner was a close second, making $1.1 million. Two other lobbyists cleared $1 million, John Stierhoff and Michael Johansen.

Five lobbying firms earned $1 million or more. They were:

- Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC., about $3.6 million.

- Alexander & Cleaver P.A., about $3.4 million.

- Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger and Hollander LLC., about $1.4 million.

- Manis Canning & Associates, about $1.3 million.

- Venable, LLP, about $1 million.

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