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The State University of New York and its campuses spent more than $1 million in 2003 to wine, dine, cajole or otherwise lobby New York elected officials in Washington and Albany, records show.

For example, Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, was lobbied by the University at Buffalo to reauthorize the federal Higher Education Act, to help secure funding for an earthquake center and to push a road project, among other issues, according to federal lobbying reports.

"I'm never quite sure why governments think they have to hire lobbyists to lobby themselves," said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "I'd love to hear their argument."

SUNY spokesman David Henahan said lobbying in Washington has reaped for SUNY $60 million in three years through direct congressional appropriations.

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