Billboard companies spent almost $700,000 lobbying Los Angeles city officials in the first quarter of this year, according to City Ethics Commission records. That’s a threefold increase over the amount the companies spent in the same three-month period of 2012.
Leading the pack were Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor, which together spent $421,000 to lobby the mayor, city councilmembers, and other city officials. That’s hardly a surprise, given that the two companies have been engaged for months in an effort to get a deal with the city to preserve their digital billboards, which went dark when a judge ordered them turned off two weeks ago.
Registered lobbying firms reported first quarter expenditures on behalf of nine companies. In addition to CBS Outdoor, $225,000; and Clear Channel, $166,000; they were JCDecaux, $120,000; Summit Media, $76,000; Van Wagner Communications, $30,000; Regency Outdoor, $28,000; National Promotions and Advertising, $12,000; Titan Outdoor, $7,500; and CBS/Decaux, $1,300.
No lobbying expenditures were reported for Lamar Advertising, which has been pushing for several years to be allowed to put up new digital billboards in exchange for taking down most of its conventional signs. Last month the company filed a lawsuit asking that the city be ordered to issue permits for 45 full-size digital signs in various parts of the city.
The billboard companies with reported payments to lobbyists are represented by a total of 22 registered lobbying firms, according to Ethics Commission records.