Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey spent the most on lobbying activity in 2017, with $2.5 million in total spending for a 224 percent leap from the previous year.
New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Committee data show Public Service Enterprise Group, parent to Public Service Electric & Gas, was second with $2.4 million spent for lobbying in 2017. That was a 535 percent jump from 2016.
Health care issues and related insurance costs continue to grab the intention of lawmakers and industry-watchers of all stripes. Among energy hot spots, PSE&G continues to push for legislation that would result in the state subsidizing its three nuclear power plants with $300 million annually with tax payer money.
The Latino Consumer Alliance was third in spending on lobbying efforts last year, with $1.4 million. Houston-based Occidental Petroleum was fourth with less than $2 million in spending.
Looking at industry sectors, the state’s energy industry spent $7.6 million in total lobbying efforts in 2017, which led all industries. The insurance industry was second with $6.1 million in spending, and the hospital industry was third with $6.1 million in spending.
“In a democratic society, policy-making often doesn’t come easy or quietly, and the most intense debates often lead to heavy lobbying activity,” said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “In 2017, several issues that are still on the hot burner in 2018 led to record spending by some of the parties with the biggest stakes.”