A record amount went to lobbying California’s government. Who were the biggest spenders?

Last year was a good year to be a lobbyist in California.

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Advocacy efforts shattered records in 2023, with nearly $480 million poured into influencing legislation and regulatory decisions making their way through state government. That amount eclipsed the previous high $440 million spent in 2022, based on figures from the California Secretary of State. 

The top three organizations who spent the most on lobbying last year were Chevron ($11.1 million), the Hawaiian Gardens Casino ($9.1 million) and the Western States Petroleum Association ($6.9 million). The same three organizations were already spending the most money on lobbying headed into the final quarter of the year.

But what about the other top spenders? The ten largest patrons of persuasion put a combined $57 million into trying to convince government officials in 2023, or 12% of the total spent on lobbying that year.

#1: Chevron

Chevron, a California-based oil company, is a prolific spender on lobbyists, forking over $74.5 million since 2005 to influence state government. In the final quarter of 2023, Chevron reported spending $1.2 million to try and get its way with state officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, and several state agencies, such as the Public Utilities Commission, the Air Resources Board and the Energy Commission. One of its primary advocacy goals was to influence the implementation of a bill — signed by Newsom last March — that empowered the Energy Commission to establish a maximum profit margin for refining gasoline.

#2: Hawaiian Garden Casino

The Los Angeles County-based Hawaiian Garden Casino went all-in last year, spending more than four-fifths of all the lobbying dollars it has invested over the past two decades. It continued to lobby on a so-far unsuccessful bill related to casino regulations and reported trying to influence the Bureau of Gambling Control on a blackjack proposal. The casino really ramped up its spending as the year drew to a close, racking up nearly 45% of its lobbying bill in the last quarter.

#3: Western States Petroleum Association

The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry trade group, is consistently a top employer of lobbyists aimed at the state and has been one of the top three spenders in every legislative session going back at least a decade. In the fourth quarter of 2023, it reported lobbying the Legislature and the governor’s office and other state agencies. Among other issues, the trade group lobbied on a proposed windfall profit tax on refining gas that was eventually watered down.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Now I know why Chevron fuels are the most expensive of any provider. I buy gas that is priced competitively and appropriate for my vehicles. No ethanol if I can avoid it, those fuels are bad for most cars without the factory adaptations for alternative gases. I buy premium for one car that must use it and my Ford truck requires real diesel fuels, not the adulterated fuels which damage the injectors.
    I do add fuel conditioners to keep my lines and injectors clean, it is cheaper that wat than the very little that the Top Tier Fuel providers claim they add.
    Pre 1976 cars must still meet smog requirements, thanks to the Arnold signing an Executive Order suspending a legally passed law for a rolling 25-year smog exemptions. Those standards have become even more stringent from the dates of manufacture. By now, most of these cars are rarely driven or are ow in car collections.
    Why can’t the legislature overturn that stupid nod to the environmentalists by Arnold and do the catchup to 1999 model year exemptions. The auto after-market industry is huge in California, many are leaving the state because of these restrictions. For instance, a GM Quadrajet carburetor rebuild kit in CA, is a mere bag of gaskets. you can’t get the metering rods and fuel mixture jets to properly rebuild the devices. One must find them out of state through near illegal methods, those are the devices that do control the cleaner air in the carbs, not the gaskets. Such fools we have at the CARB.

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