Top lobbyists are by far the highest paid people who work at the state Capitol, some making many times the $142,976 annual salary of Gov. Matt Bevin.
The 628 corporations and associations that pay lobbyists to try to influence the Kentucky General Assembly are required to report exactly how much they pay each lobbyist they retain. These reports are filed regularly with the Legislative Ethics Commission.
This week, these groups reported their lobbying fees and expenses for the period of Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Combined with reports filed earlier, the commission’s website adds up total fees paid to each lobbyist by his or her many clients for the calendar year 2017.
Here’s a list of the highest paid lobbyists for the year, according to the commission’s records.
The following lobbyists each work for many clients, most of them 25 or more. Listed with each name is the total in reported fees paid by all of his or her clients in 2017 and just three of the many clients of the lobbyist.
► Bob Babbage, $956,000
Clients include Cash Express, Novo Nordisk Inc., Aetna Inc.
► John McCarthy, $782,943
Clients include the University of Louisville, Altria (Philip Morris USA), Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
► Patrick Jennings, $770,795
Clients include Consumer Healthcare Products Assn., Swedish Match, United Parcel Service
► Karen Thomas-Lentz, $599,276
Clients include Fresenius Medical Care, Swisher International, EPIC Pharmacies
► Sean Cutter, $591,967
Clients include Kentucky Distillers Assn., Citigroup Washington, AmeriHealth-Caritas
► Ronny Pryor, $531,356
Clients include Molina Health Care, LifePoint Hospitals, Hospital Corporation of America
► John Cooper, $516,975
Clients include Kentucky Medical Assn., Toyota, Waste Management Inc..
► Chris Nolan, $459,222
Clients include EQT Corp., Citigroup Washington, Kentucky Association of Radon Professionals
► Marc Wilson, $423,118
Clients include Check Into Cash, Advance America Cash Advance Centers, T-Mobile USA
► Laura Owens, $393,400
Clients include Insurance Auto Auction, Baptist Health, Cumberland River Comp Care
► Kelley Abell, $353,596
Clients include Res-Care, Kentucky Assn. of Adult Day Centers, Norton Healthcare
► Leigh Thacker, $340,654
Clients include Universal Health Services, Outdoor Advertising Assn., Kentucky Press Assn.
► Kevin Payton, $334,154
Clients include Fidelity Investments, Outdoor Advertising Assn., Universal Health Services
► John Y. Brown III, $327,850
Clients include SAS Institute, Xerox, Key Bank National Assn.
► Jason Bentley, 300,833
Clients include Kentucky Association or Radon Professionals, Nucor Corp., RAI Services
► Bart Baldwin, $291,134
Clients include Kentucky Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, Maryhurst
► Ellen Williams, $282,530
Clients include Houchens Industries, Kentucky Assn. of Counties, Kentucky County Judge/Executives Assn.
► Russ Woodward, $273,894
Clients include Anheuser-Busch, National Tobacco, CGI Technologies
► Jitter Allen, $257,444
Clients include Altria (Philip Morris USA), Kentucky Cable Telecommunications Assn., Purdue Pharma
► Richie Sanders, $253,033
Clients include Mainstreet, Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, National Tobacco
Source: Legislative Ethics Commission.