Companies, organizations and others hoping to influence government decisions spent $38.6 million lobbying, said a report released on the eve on the 2010 legislative session – $1 million less than was spent the previous year, but $11.2 million more than the year before passage of a state law barring campaign contributions by lobbyists.

In 2009, $24,000 went toward paying for things for public officials, such as meals – slightly down from $25,573 the previous year, reports the Office of State Ethics.

The number one issues lobbyists were following in 2009 was health care.

Connecticut Business and Industry Association spent the most with $1.46 million, followed by Northeast Utilities with $954,000. Gaffney, Bennett & Associates received the most lobbying work with $4.5 million, followed by Sullivan & LeShane with $2.2 million.

This is the first year the Office of State Ethics has reported on lobbying activity in such detail, said Meredith Trimble, who compiled the data for the agency.

“It’s a new state order of lobbyists reporting,” she said of this year’s report that now outlines much more in-depth lobbying behavior. “We will now have a great comparison of lobbying activities in the coming years.”

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