The Wisconsin Capitol Building. Photo by Molly Liebergall.

The Koch network, the Brewers, Kwik Trip: here’s who spent the most on lobbying in Wisconsin last year

Experts say lobbying works, and many organizations spend hundreds of thousands to influence government action. See the list of top 50 lobbyists here.

Experts say lobbying works, and many organizations spend hundreds of thousands to influence government action. See the list of top 50 lobbiers here.

A photo of the Wisconsin Capitol Building.
The Wisconsin Capitol Building. Photo by Molly Liebergall.


Wisconsin has strict lobbying laws, as lobbyists cannot give anything of value to an elected state official, candidate for state elective office, legislative employee, or agency official.

Not even a cup of coffee.

But that doesn’t stop big organizations from lobbying the Wisconsin State Legislature and others on behalf of their interests and members.

Business associations, like the powerful Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, and others spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year trying to shape, promote and block legislation and other government action. But by law, lobbyists or organizations who are lobbying are not allowed to give candidates or state officials anything of monetary value, like meals, transportation or lodging, unless that gift is also available to the public.

Lobbyists can make a campaign donation to a candidate for office, but only between the start of a campaign and the election. A person who is not a lobbyist can make a campaign donation to any politician at any time.

Lobbyists must be registered with the state, and they must also report their hours and dollars spent lobbying to the state.

Here are the top 50 lobbiers of the Wisconsin State Legislature, by dollars reported, in 2023.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce5,066$885,804
Wisconsin Hospital Association3,946$865,605
Wisconsin REALTORS Association4,978$843,129
Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club1,074$791,000
Badger Advocates, Inc. (UW-Madison)355$652,404
Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation2,376$631,000
Wisconsin Counties Association3,822$531,064
Wisconsin Insurance Alliance798$406,793
Wisconsin Property Taxpayers Inc4,436$394,332
Wisconsin Towns Association2,262$369,272
Americans For Prosperity (the Kochs’ political advocacy group)1,469$367,942
Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, Inc.1,212$354,233
ATC Management Inc.1,216$321,357
Wisconsin Bankers Association1,412$294,405
Wisconsin Infrastructure Investment Now, Inc.0$260,982
WEC Energy Group, Inc.1,079$257,088
National Federation of Independent Business1,397$241,305
State Bar of Wisconsin2,458$239,571
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin982$217,470
Marquette University851$209,984
Koch Government Affairs LLC, and Affiliates362$201,027
Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy494$196,603
Wisconsin Wine and Spirit Institute609$191,964
Altria Client Services LLC206$191,899
Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group Inc876$185,671
Kwik Trip Inc.648$185,384
League of Wisconsin Municipalities1,499$184,930
Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin Inc256$180,481
Alliance of Health Insurers, U.A.1,064$171,715
Wisconsin Association of Health Plans836$171,180
AT&T Wisconsin796$168,181
Milwaukee County1,429$167,636
Kohler Co.104$165,000
RAI Services Company (formerly Reynolds American Inc.)118$164,763
Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Inc1,604$158,696
Humana, Inc.594$157,494
Johnson Controls Inc188$157,005
Wisconsin Medical Society1,162$155,401
Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities1,329$149,637
Madison Gas & Electric Company392$148,377
Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association843$147,766
Marshfield Clinic Health System238$139,346
Wisconsin Health Care Association Inc.1,153$137,865
Wisconsin Association for Justice1,103$135,468
LeadingAge Wisconsin712$129,327
Google LLC and its Affiliates284$126,610
Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, Inc427$122,673
Elevance Health, and its affiliates dba Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield679$122,233
Wisconsin Credit Union League476$121,715

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

This article first appeared on The Badger Project and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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