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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Lobbying Olympics

The Center for Responsive Politics has calculated which organizations spent the most on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2011. It awarded "Olympic" medials to the top three:
BRONZE: With a $87 million lobbying push from the beginning of 2008 through the end of last year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) takes home the bronze medal for this event. The group's most robust K Street operation came in 2009, when it spent over $26.1 million lobbying the federal government. PhRMA's more than 140 lobbyists direct most of their energy toward general health policy, Medicare and Medicaid and pharmaceutical issues. The majority of PhRMA's operation is run through its 25 in-house lobbyists, but the group also employs lobbyists from dozens of other firms around D.C.

SILVER: General Electric wins its second medal of the Influence Olympics, posting a $110.7 million lobbying figure from 2008 to 2011. During this period, GE spent the most by far in 2010. That year, it paid out $39.3 million to 195 different lobbyists, with most of the cash flowing to those working in-house. As noted in our last Influence Olympics post, GE has its hands in just about every policy area in Washington, including defense, budget and tax issues.

GOLD: Capturing its second gold medal in a row, the K Street giant U.S. Chamber of Commerce wins the Influence Olympics marathon after pouring a massive $460.1 million into its lobbying efforts from 2008 through 2011. The pro-business group's banner year came in 2010, when it spent over $157 million on lobbying. Like GE, the Chamber lobbies on seemingly every piece of legislation that makes its way around Capitol Hill, especially those dealing with finance and banking issues. The group's 87 in-house lobbyists are responsible for most of its government relations work, helping the Chamber accomplish what no Olympic runner has ever done -- take home the gold in both the 100 meter dash and the marathon.