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Lobbying for attention

John Flanagan's office was lobbied more than 130 times in 2018

A composite image shows Senate Minority Conference Leader

A composite image shows Senate Minority Conference Leader John Flanagan and Sen. Todd Kaminsky. Photo Credit: Newsday/ Richard T. Slattery and Newsday/James Escher

Just another sign that the times in Albany are changing.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics recently released its 2018 annual report that includes lots of data about which lobbyists reached out to which legislators.

Then-GOP Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office was lobbied more than 130 times in 2018, according to a Point analysis of the JCOPE data. Yet in the last two months of the year for the November-December reporting period, the data show only six lobbying contacts. The election, when Republicans lost State Senate control meaning Flanagan would no longer wield the gavel, was Nov. 6.

Compare that to Democratic State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who is seen as a dean of the newly influential Long Island Six. Lobbyists logged contacts with Kaminsky’s office just over 50 times in 2018. Sixteen of those contacts came in the November-December period, more than fellow Long Islander Flanagan during that time, and more than any other two-month period for Kaminsky.

The JCOPE data doesn’t include the exact way in which lobbyists lobbied the senators or their staffers, such as calls or office visits, and the data set is sloppy, especially when it comes to misspellings: the Point tried various variants on Flanagan and Kaminsky which turned up lobbying contacts with Sens. “Kaminski” and “Flangagn.”

Lobbyists were quick to adjust to the new Long Island State Senate reality. Maybe more will know how to spell “Kaminsky” by the end of 2019.

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