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Monday, January 2, 2012

The Lobby Bowl

An earlier post looked at lobbying and the NFL.  Institutions of higher education, likewise, are interest groups that engage in lobbying.  The Center for Responsive Politics reports on the universities whose teams are playing in bowl games:
A new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that the universities scheduled to play in the five bowl games collectively have spent millions lobbying the federal government this year.
...All told, this elite group of colleges and universities has forked over more than $2.4 million for federal lobbying this year, according to the Center's research, or an average of about $246,000 per school. 
They've lobbied on a broad range of issues, including taxes, science and technology grants, stadium security, legislation to help undocumented immigrants qualify for higher education and more.
All education-related organizations lobbied to the tune of about $77.9 million through September 2011, with colleges and universities – public and private alike – accounting for the bulk of that spending.
It's also worth noting that the Bowl Championship Series itself has invested hundreds of thousands building influence in Washington since it first started lobbying in 2003, asOpenSecrets Blog previously reported. The BCS is on track to chalk up its highest-spending year ever in the nation's capital, ringing up $260,000 in federal lobbying bills through September. Much of that cash has been spent defending the BCS' championship series from foes that want Congress to replace it with a playoff-based structure.