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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Leading Lobbies

Our chapter on interest groups emphasizes that far more money goes into lobbying than into campaign contributions. Open Secrets reports:
Pharmaceuticals, utilities and big agriculture have led the lobbying charge so far this year, according to preliminary figures from latest lobbying disclosures. The pharmaceutical industry as a whole spent $69.6 million on lobbying in the first three months alone, while electrical utilities spent $43.3 million. The agricultural services industry - which includes heavy hitters like Monsanto, the American Farm Bureau and Archer Daniels Midland - spent far less, only about $12.9 million, but that represented a 48 percent increase over its lobbying in the final three months of 2011.

Overall, the ebb and flow of industries on our list of top lobbyists was dictated by the legislative calendar. While all these groups regularly rank highly in terms of their spending, they all had particular battles early in 2012.
To see a full list of the top industries and how they've lobbied Washington in the first three months of 2012, explore our industry lobbying page. Or, check out our top spenders page, to see a list of top organizations and how much they spent on lobbying so far in 2012 (spoiler: once again, the No. 1 organization, by far, is the Chamber of Commerce).
Also at Open Secrets:
According to an analysis of the most recent lobbying disclosure information, five of the top ten bills that have been lobbied the most intensely so far this year are Internet-related, and most have bipartisan and industry backing. Major cash is being laid out to push their passage.

The most recent bill to stir things up is the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act(CISPA), which would allow private companies to share far more data on users with the federal government in what backers say is an effort to improve cybersecurity. Opponents claim it would severely undermine the privacy rights of many Americans. The bill was passed by the House last night and now faces a tougher battle in the Senate (and the threat of a veto by President Obama).

A list of companies and organizations that have sent letters of support for the bill to the House Intelligence Committee, where the legislation was created, meshes closely with the list of top lobbying groups so far this year -- not to mention groups that lobbied on SOPA and PIPA.