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Philip Morris, gay marriage supporters on short list of $1M lobbyists

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A report released by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board found that the lobbyists behind the successful campaign to legalize gay marriage and the unsuccessful effort to block cigarette and tobacco tax increases spent more than $1 million in Minnesota last year.

The report, released Tuesday, shows that Minnesotans United, which led an effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota, and Altria Client Services, the parent company for Philip Morris, joined the short list of million-dollar spenders in 2013.

Only three organizations spent more to influence state and local government: two business groups and the teachers union, the Star Tribune reports.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which spent just over $2 million, was the single biggest spender on lobbying last year, as it often is. Minnesota Business Partnership spent nearly $1.5 million and Education Minnesota spent just over $1.2 million, the report says. All of the million-dollar spenders increased their spending amounts in 2013.

The two business groups helped knock down massive proposed business-to-business tax increases last year, the Star Tribune says. However, smaller tax increases on businesses transactions with other businesses were approved.

The Star Tribune says the state's more than 1,000 lobbying organizations spent a little more than $70 million to influence the administration and state and local officials last year, which is a slight increase from 2012.

About 100 lobbying organizations missed the deadline to file reports on their 2013 spending, so they weren't included in the report, the newspaper says.

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