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Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years

Crooked Ass Government
07/16/2005 06:08 PM
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Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years
Suprise Suprise:

Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years
Center for Public Integrity reveals extent of lobbying influence

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2005 — In a major study of the federal lobbying industry, the Center for Public Integrity today reports that lobbyists have spent nearly $13 billion since 1998 to influence members of Congress and federal officials on legislation and regulations.
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Out of that $13 billion, almost $600 million was tax and tuition dollars spent by states, local governments and universities.

Records show that in 2003 alone lobbyists spent $2.4 billion and records for 2004 are expected to show expenditures of at least $3 billion. That´s about twice as much as was spent on campaign finance in the same time period.

"For years the media and the public have focused on campaign finance as the key to congressional and governmental accountability," said Roberta Baskin, the Center´s executive director. "Our report reveals that each year since 1998 the amount spent to influence federal lawmakers is double the amount of money spent to elect them."

The Center also found that the revolving door is turning dizzyingly fast. Nearly 250 former members of Congress and agency heads are active lobbyists, and more than 2,000 lobbyists used to work in senior government positions. There is a large financial incentive for the move.

The report shows that the federal disclosure system is in disarray. Forty-nine out of the top 50 lobbying firms failed to file one or more required forms during the last six years. Similarly, 20 percent of the companies registered to lobby failed to file one or more required forms.

Nearly 14,000 documents that should have been filed are missing; nearly 300 individuals, companies or associations lobbied without first registering; more than 2,000 initial registrations were filed after the allowable time frame; 210 out of 250 top lobbying firms failed to file one or more required document; and in more than 2,000 instances, lobbyists never filed the required termination documents at all.

Even those who did file were often late in doing so. Almost 20 percent—36,000 out of 183,000—of lobbying forms were filed late.

"In 2004 the press wrote ten times as many stories about campaign finance than they did about lobbying," said Baskin. "Such inattention by the public and the press has made it possible for lobbyists to run stealth campaigns that impact America´s democracy out of the spotlight."

As part of its investigation of federal lobbying, the Center built an extensive database that includes the names of all registered lobbyists, the names of the top clients of all the lobbyists, the issues lobbied, the agencies that are lobbied and the government officials involved in the revolving door system. The database (which is free to the public) takes information difficult to access from sources such as the Senate Office of Public Records and makes it user friendly and easily accessible by company, lobbying firm or issue.

The database also details federal lobbying activities by companies based in each of the 50 states and six territories, along with information about lobbying by universities and local governments. It shows, for example, that in the past six years, more than 300 public universities have spent over $131 million, while more than 1,400 local governments have doled out more than $352 million to secure funding for everything from freeways to fire trucks.

"States, local governments, even school boards spend millions of taxpayer dollars competing to become favorites of the federal decision makers. The way this game is played, no one can afford NOT to play," said Baskin.

Below are questions commonly asked about federal lobbying:

Who are the top five lobbying firms?

Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. $265 million
WPP Group plc $170 million
Patton Boggs $145 million
Piper Rudnick $125 million
Akin Gump $120 million

Which companies spend the most on lobbying?

Chamber of Commerce for the USA $193 million
Altria Group Inc. $125 million
Verizon Communications Inc. $105 million
General Electric Co. $105 million
Edison Electric Institute $100 million

Which companies spend the most on outside lobbyists?

Lockheed Martin $39 million
Altria Group Inc. $37 million
AT&T Corp. $31 million
Verizon Communications Inc. $26 million
PhRMA $26 million

Who do lobbyists lobby?

U.S. House of Representatives 17,300 companies
U.S. Senate 17,200 companies
Dept. of Defense 2,800 companies
Health & Human Services 2,400 companies
Dept. of Commerce 2,300 companies
Dept. of Treasury 2,300 companies
Dept. of Transportation 2,200 companies
Executive Office of the Pres. 2,000 companies
White House Office 1,900 companies
Dept. of Agriculture 1,800 companies

What are the top issues lobbied?

Federal budget and appropriations 6,800 companies
Health issues 4,100 companies
Defense 3,700 companies
Taxation & Internal Revenue Code 3,500 companies
Transportation 3,300 companies

Where does the money for lobbying come from?

* companies (as clients);
* member dues;
* tax dollars;
* and foreign governments.

Why has the amount of money spent on lobbying grown so much in the past six years?

The amount has doubled in the past six years for several reasons, including: legislative gridlock; changes in the seniority system of members of congress; and realization by lobbyists that "money talks."

What do the dollar figures that lobbyists disclose include?

Billable hours, as defined by reporting requirements, include meals and other direct expenses. Lobbyists do not have to report not indirect expenses such as general research and consulting that might be done for a client.

Who becomes a lobbyist?

Many lobbyists are former members of congress or former officials in executive departments and agencies (or vice versa).

Is lobbying illegal?

Absolutely not. In fact the right "to petition the government" is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, it is important that the public be aware of the amounts of money being spent by lobbyists on specific issues, as well as who the lobbyists are. From time to time lobbyists write legislation and agency regulations – the responsibility of government officials, elected and appointed.

Can lobbyists guarantee results for their clients?

There are no guarantees. However, Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest clients of lobbyists, is also the leading defense contractor. Since 1998, Lockheed has spent $80 million on lobbying and received $94 billion in government contacts.

[link to www.publicintegrity.org]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:13 AM
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Re: Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years
I would like to see the amount spent by "Foreign governments". I would also like to see the amount spent by foreign industries.