As the wheeling and dealing around the “fiscal cliff” continues to envelop Washington, thousands of lobbyists representing more than a billion dollars are watching, and getting ready to complicate any potential deal.
After all, any grand bargain on spending and revenue will go right at the heart of two of the most heavily-lobbied issues in Washington: budget and taxes. Pick any tax loophole or any budget line item, and there’s almost certainly a lobbyist there to pressure deal-makers to pick a different loophole or budget item. Pick that loophole or budget item, and, well, you get the idea…
The Obama administration releases a list of visitors who pass through the White House security gate every month. The database currently has more than 2.2 million entries for the period from January 2009 through Jan. 31, 2012.
Only the most ardent fan of the University of Colorado at Boulder would pick the 11th-seeded Buffaloes to win the NCAA men’s basketball tourney, even though they have one of the nation’s best rebounders in Andre Roberson.
But wait! They have a secret weapon: Extensive lobbying expenditures! And that, friends (spoiler alert!), sends them on their way to winning it all according to this year’s edition of the Center for Responsive Politics’ annual K Street Classic, in which we predict the success of each school in the NCAA bracket based on how much it spent lobbying Washington in 2011.
That is, folk who are followed by 20 or more people on the list…
Companies and organizations can donate an unlimited amount of money to honor officials, sponsor their conferences, and donate to their pet charities, so long as these donations are reported to the Senate. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed these filings from 2009 and 2010 and found about $50 million in honorary gifts and meeting costs. These donations can all be viewed in the interactive display below by company making the donation or by official being honored.
Energy subsidies: The price that you pay for energy isn’t actually the price the market would set for that energy.
Curious about how the industry is using its dollars to lobby Congress?
Concerned about seeing their huge profits cut, six big banks are leading the charge to weaken or block new financial regulations being considered in the United States Senate. To push their cause these banks have hired 145 former government officials—congressmen, staffers and executive branch officials—to lobby on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.
The top six bank holding companies engaged in lobbying on financial regulation include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, these banks spent a combined total of $23.8 million lobbying Washington in 2009.
From 1998 to 2009 spending on lobbying expanded by nearly 150 percent. Spending grew across the board during this period, but when looking at the share of lobbying spending some sectors expanded their dominance, while others shrunk or remained stagnant. (All sector data comes from the Center for Responsive Politics.)
They were the pioneers of a high profile business. Politicians held strategy sessions with them, while the public saw them as the source of all evil in politics. In the last decade lobbying in Washington boomed like no other business. Expenses skyrocketed from $1.5 billion to approximately $3.5 billion by the end of the decade. Over the course of the past decade forty-three lobbying firms found themselves ranked in the top twenty firms in terms of lobbying revenue. In this expansion some firms maintained their status, some fell from their perch, others rose to prominence, while a few succumbed to some of the most memorable lobbying scandals in recent memory.