This is an AJC story about lobbying. It turns out that the lobbyist who spent the most in 2006, and the third most in 2007, works for the state university system.
This year was my first covering a General Assembly session. One of the things that struck me was how many lobbyists actually worked for the state. Pretty much every department has one, though I think some of them prefer to be called advocates.
So the state is paying to lobby the state so one entity of the state can get money from the state.
Actually, now that I think about it, that does sound like government. No worries.
UPDATE from the comments: This is damn sure worth looking into. On the calendar for next week:
The real story here, not written, is the fact that corporations do not need to register if their officers are picking up the dinner tab. If these dollars were counted, I assure you the top 10 list would be radically different.
UPDATE on the UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Rick Thompson, executive director of the Georgia State Ethics Commission, which handles lobbyist registration, etc. He said that the above statement (which I pasted from the comments section) is not correct.
"It's not true," Thompson said. "Anybody who makes any expenditures regardless of what their title is... becomes a lobbyist."
Thompson went on to say that if Coca-Cola threw a big party and invited legislators, and a bunch of Coke vice presidents were there, then Coke's lobbyist would have to account for and report all the expenses, but the vice presidents wouldn't have to report because it just wouldn't be practical. So maybe that's what the poster meant, I don't know.