Banks, mortgage lenders and credit card companies, which are expected to gain the most from Maryland's sweeping new banking deregulation law, spent more than $135,0000 lobbying to get that measure enacted.
Lobbyists' reports being filed this week with the Maryland State Ethics Commission show that the Maryland Bankers Association spent about $61,522 to lobby for passage of the controversial bill during the 90-day General Assembly session that ended in April.
Of that amount, about $12,000 was spent to have a prominent Baltimore law firm draw up the deregulation bill, which lifts many restrictions on banks and other credit grantors. A total of $3,865 was spent for meals and drinks for legislators, officials and their families.
Another large contributor to the bank deregulation lobbying effort was Citicorp, which markets the Choice credit card, with $46,600. The investment paid off: Initially the bill only covered banks, but Citicorp's lobbyist was able to make sure that credit card companies and, for the first time, credit card fees, were also included.
John E. O'Donnell, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said yesterday that 494 lobbyists registered--as required by state law--to push causes in the state capitol this year, up slightly from the past. The most prominent of those lobbyists had a dozen or more clients.
The total spent to woo the state's 188 legislators is not yet available since some lobbyists have not submitted their disclosure forms. But O'Donnell said that it appears, from forms already submitted, that lobbying expenditures could be greater than last year.
Special interest groups spent just under $3.7 million during the 1982 General Assembly. That figure was about $400,000 more than in 1981 and $800,000 more than in 1980.
The tobacco and alcoholic beverages industries also were big spenders in Annapolis this year, killing an effort by Gov. Harry Hughes to increase the so-called "sin" taxes on beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes. The affected industries spent about $94,000 fighting the measure.
Hughes' tax proposals were killed by two legislative committees.
While both lobbyists and legislators say it is hard to gauge the effect of lobbying money on the fate of a bill, the handling this year of a bill requiring mandatory deposits on bottles is revealing.
Bottle manufacturers, distributors and supermarkets spent $17,000 opposing the bill, while citizen-activists spent $520 pushing it.
The proposal was quickly dispatched by legislators, and serious consideration was given to an industry-proposed measure to set up a program to provide antilitter education and some recycling.
That latter measure was also killed in the assembly but it won support from the state Senate before being killed.
A high-priced lobbying effort that failed sought to eliminate blue laws in Baltimore County so that stores could remain open on Sundays. That unsuccessful effort cost an organization of mall stores and department stores $45,000.
The annual battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists over whether the former should be allowed to administer eyedrops was won by the latter, who outspent their competitors $20,000 to $19,000.
This year, at least five lobbyists made more than $100,000 in fees and other compensation from special interest groups. The highest paid lobbyist, James J. Doyle Jr., a Baltimore lawyer who represents such firms as American Express Co. and Jiffy Lube International Inc., took in about $220,000 in fees and expense reimbursements during the 90-day session. Others who collected fees in six figures were Franklin Goldstein, Bruce C. Bereano, Devin Doolan and Ira Cooke.