Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lobbying spending hits record $849 million

Very predictable: as a government's role in determining the success and failure of companies and whole industries increases, so does the incentives for companies and industries to lobby
the government. With the Obama Administration's plan to increase its control over the economy via health care reform, politically connected corporations stand to gain a fortune, while others run the risk of being taxed and regulated into oblivion. And as the state increases its control of the economy, simultaneously large corporations will increase their control of the state.

Lobbying spending hits record $849 million

Oct 30, 2009

WASHINGTON — Companies, unions and other interests spent $849 million on federal lobbying in July, August and September, more than in any quarter since lobbyists began filing quarterly reports at the beginning of last year, according to a nonpartisan group that monitors political expenditures.

Lobbying spending has totaled $2.5 billion so far this year, slightly exceeding the total for all of 2005, said the Center for Responsive Politics.

The massive sums — covering the activities of 13,428 lobbyists — are being spent despite efforts by President Barack Obama to curb the clout of Washington's influence industry, and reflect the administration's and Congress' ambitious efforts on health care and other areas.
By far the biggest individual spender for lobbying has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at $65 million. Closest to it are Exxon Mobil Corp., at $21 million, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the General Electric Co., both at $20 million.

Divided into sectors of the economy, companies and other groups involved in health care have led the way, spending $397 million for the first nine months of the year. That's about a 9 percent increase over the same period a year ago, evidence of this year's work on a health care overhaul, the chief legislative focus of Obama and Congress.

Besides the pharmaceutical association, which is the drug industry's trade group, the biggest lobbying spenders in this category include $16 million by Pfizer Inc., the New York-based pharmaceutical giant; $12 million by the American Medical Association; and $11 million by the American Hospital Association.

Other sectors that have seen the heaviest lobbying spending are general business, $363 million; finance, insurance and real estate, $335 million; and energy and natural resources, $301 million. Those interests also are engaged in efforts to shape top priorities of both the White House's and Congress: energy and climate legislation and measures aimed at regulating the financial industry.

The AFL-CIO has outspent all other labor organizations this year, with expenditures of nearly $3 million.

Obama has limited the number of lobbyists his administration has hired and clamped restrictions on lobbying that administration officials can do after leaving office. He's also put constraints on lobbyists trying to influence spending from this year's economic stimulus package.

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