More than two dozen construction industry groups spent $1.7 million in total lobbying state lawmakers this past year.
That’s according to data from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, which tracks how much time and money interest groups spend on lobbying at the State Capitol. During 2021, 30 construction groups spent a total of $1.7 million lobbying as state lawmakers completed the 2021-2023 biennial budget.
Wisconsin Infrastructure Investment Now, a union-backed group, spent $221,209 on lobbying in 2021, more than any other construction group and the 16th most among all organizations that lobby in the state Capitol. Despite the group’s spending, WIIN did not log any hours directly lobbying lawmakers. John Gard, a lobbyist for WIIN, said the group “over reports” to disclose its spending on advertising.
“We did a variety of radio ads and advocacy on building projects in Wisconsin,” Gard said.
WIIN advocated this past year for a reconstruction of Interstate 94 East-West in Milwaukee — a project that won support in the latest two-year budget — and produced a report arguing that most of the labor needed for the construction of large solar farms should come from local workers.
The Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association spent $189,124 on lobbying in 2021, the second-most of any construction group, and logged 381 hours of lobbying for the year. When compared with all lobbying groups, the WTBA — which mostly represents specialty contractors on roadbuilding and infrastructure projects — spent the 23rd most.
Among construction groups, the third largest amount was from the mostly non-union Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, which spent $138,833. The trade group also registered more lobbying hours than any other construction organization, logging 1,475 hours.
Here are the most active industry lobbyists and how much money and time they spent on lobbying: