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Cook county lobbyists were paid $1 million during the first half 2011

Cook County Clerk David Orr said he expects gambling to become an increasingly bigger issue for lobbyists in the coming year.

Lobbyists were paid nearly $1 million and made 632 contacts with Cook County officials so far this year, according to a government website that tracks lobbying in the county.

Orr said the spending could be because of the recent elections of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

"In some ways you'd expect with new administrations there perhaps could be more lobbying going on because they have to establish new relationships with those people," he said. 

Though Orr said that "lobbyists themselves are not inherently good or bad", he noted that the site "is important [because of] how much money is being spent."

This year, county lobbyists spent large sums on the debate over raising cigarette taxes and the future of the Oak Forest Hospital.

County Commissioner Larry Suffredin of the 13th District was the most lobbied official, with 44 contacts reported. 

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