Data: Lobbyists spent nearly $18M in Wisconsin budget season

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Early figures show lobbyists spent nearly $18 million to influence the Republican-dominated Wisconsin Legislature and state agencies during the first budget season under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The nonpartisan state Ethics Commission's preliminary records reveal overall spending from more than 700 possible lobbying groups has fallen by more than $1 million so far this year.

The numbers also indicate that six of the top 10 lobbyist groups in 2019 were among the highest spenders during the state's last budget battle two years ago. The top spenders include the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

Evers added 78 line vetoes before signing the two-year budget July 3 .