Lobbyists spent nearly $1 billion in Q1
By Dan Eggen
It's official: The first quarter of 2010 marked another frenzy for Washington lobbyists as corporations, unions and other interest groups spent nearly $1 billion in their attempts to sway Congress and the Obama administration.
The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group, calculates that the $903 million spent on lobbying from January through March puts the profession on pace to beat last year's record expenditures of $3.5 billion.To look at it another way: Interest groups spent $19 million for every day that the House or Senate was in session.
The onslaught was led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other general business interests, which together spent about $139 million in the first quarter, CRP said. The other big spenders were directly linked to the weighty legislative issues that have dominated Congress: the health sector spent $138 million in the battle over President Obama's health-care overhaul legislation; the energy sector spent $128 million in the debate over cap-and-trade; and the finance sector dropped $123 million in attempts to sway a proposed Wall Street overhaul.
That said, the overall numbers also mask notable drops in spending by many individual companies and sectors, some of which have been hit hard by the economic downturn. The agribusiness, construction and transportation sectors, for example, all scaled back their spending in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier, as did major corporations ranging from ExxonMobil to Lockheed Martin.
For a full rundown see CRP's summary report.
April 29, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
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