Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

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UPDATE: Three hours after this story went up on Capitol Alert, the New York City hedge fund called to say it's not, after all, California's biggest spender on lobbying.

"Our first quarter filing contains a manifest error which we are working to correct," said Stephen Ellwood, chief compliance officer for Arrowgrass Capital Partners.

The company did not immediately have the correct figure for how much it spent on lobbying, but representatives said it will be significantly lower than the $2.2 million initially reported to the Secretary of State, knocking Arrowgrass Capital off the list below of the top 20 interest groups that spent the most money lobbying California government in the first three months of this year.

Ellwood also said Arrowgrass's three registered lobbyists are in-house employees, not placement agents as the Secretary of State's Office reported earlier.

The original Capitol Alert post is below:

A review of California lobbying reports from the first quarter of 2013 shows heavy spending by a lot of Sacramento's usual interest groups: the oil industry, the California Chamber of Commerce, labor unions, health care companies and utilities.

But there's a new player on the list too, one that, at first glance, appears to be outspending everyone else. Arrowgrass Capital Partners spent $2.2 million on salaries for its three in-house lobbyists during the first quarter of the year, according to its reports to the Secretary of State, which were released today. That's more than double what was spent during the same period by the Western States Petroleum Association, typically Sacramento's biggest-spending interest group.

Arrowgrass Capital is a hedge fund based in New York City. Its three registered lobbyists are actually placement agents who pitch investments to California's public pension funds, said Allie Schembra, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State's Office. A 2010 law passed in the wake of a scandal at CalPERS requires placement agents to register with the state as lobbyists.

"We're not really lobbyists but we get caught by the California lobbyist law," said Stephen Ellwood, chief compliance officer for Arrowgrass Capital.

The chart below shows the 25 interest groups that spent the most money on lobbying during the first quarter of this year, according to fillings with the Secretary of State.

Interest group spending on lobbying Q1 2013


PHOTO CREDIT: An oil well pump jack is shown working as cars and trucks roll along a stretch of road in Coalinga. The Western States Petroleum Association ranked second in California lobbying spending for the first quarter of 2013. AP Photo/ Gary Kazanjian, 2008 file



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