Lobbying spending by public unions drops sharply

Spending on lobbying by the state public employee unions has dropped dramatically in the last two years.

Preliminary lobbying figures from the Government Accountability Board show business groups now hold the lead in spending.

The state’s largest teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, spent about $2 million on lobbying in the first six months of 2011, but just $84,000 in the first six months of this year. The council had been near the top on spending over the past four years. Its lobbying efforts kicked into high gear when labor leaders, in 2011, tried to block Act 10, the law that stripped most public employees of collective bargaining power.

The Journal Sentinel says the top lobbying group for the first half of this year is the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, which spent $357,000.