Utah Governmental Bodies Spent $7 Million Lobbying Feds

Utah Governmental Bodies Spent $7 Million Lobbying Feds

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah governmental bodies paid $7 million from 1998 to mid-2004 to lobby the federal government, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity.

Spending by Utah entities ranked 36th among the 50 states and six territories.

The University of Utah topped the list of public Utah entities spending money on lobbyists, spending $1.8 million over the 51/2 years, the Deseret Morning News reported.

Nancy Lyon, head of government relations for the university, said the money was well spent as the university has been pulling in between $300 million and $500 million a year in federal money.

Utah's state government spent nearly $1.2 million over 51/2 years, the report said.

Former Gov. Olene Walker, who for 11 years was lieutenant governor to former Gov. Mike Leavitt before succeeding him in November 2003, said Thursday she doesn't remember what specific work the lobbyists.

"We were doing most of the lobbying ourselves, especially on keeping Hill (Air Force Base) open," Walker told the News.

The Utah Transit Authority spent more than $1.6 million on lobbying Washington. But over the same period, "We've gotten $377 million in federal discretionary funds -- money that could have gone to other transit districts if we don't fight for it." said UTA spokesman Justin Jones.

Much of UTA's light-rail system was built with that money, he said.

According to the study, 119 Utah companies or organizations spent $28 million from 1998 to mid-2004 on lobbying activities.

Envirocare of Utah spent the most of any Utah company at $6.8 million, followed by Huntsman Corp. at $6.5 million.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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