Xcel Energy tops list of capitol lobbyist spenders

Recent lobbyist disclosure reports show who spent the most on influence at the State Capitol during this year’s legislative session, with one special interest group holding onto the top spot for a second consecutive year.

According to available records from the Secretary of State’s Office, Xcel Energy spent the most money during this year’s session, throwing out more than $123,300 on lobbying efforts.

The energy company was also the top spender during the 2007 session, with $112,650.

Here is a list of the interest groups who spent the most on lobbying during the 2008 session:

1. Xcel Energy: $123,377

A public utility company with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. The business provides electricity and heating to the Denver Metro Area.

2. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $96,300

A national pharmaceutical lobby representing dozens of companies including Merck, Eli Lilly and Pfizer.

3. Colorado Trial Lawyers Association: $92,148

A leading state association for attorneys involved with both criminal and civil litigation.

4. Blue Spruce Project: $81,822

A project of the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association, a state lobbying collective for the grocery industry that wants less regulation of beer and wine sales in liquor stores.

5. Comcast: $78,664

A business that offers offers Internet, phone and cable services in Colorado.

State reports also shows approximately 460 professional lobbyists are currently registered to work at the Capitol for a variety of business, government and labor interests for 2008.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.