Epiphanyblog

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Lobbyists spent $3.5 Billion in ’09 on Congress

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Who says Congress isn’t bought? I just picked this up from TMP News:

What recession?

Health care and business interests led the way as clients spent a record $3.5 billion on lobbying last year, prompted by Obama administration drives to reshape federal policy for the medical, financial and energy industries.

Amid a stagnant national economy and the worst unemployment in nearly three decades, lobbying expenditures grew by 5 percent from the $3.3 billion spent in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The growth also came despite efforts by President Barack Obama to curb lobbyists’ influence.

The figures underline the vast and growing sums that industries, unions and ideological groups are spending to shape laws and regulations. Put another way, the $3.5 billion is about half what the government expects to spend this year on the entire federal court system.

Makers of pharmaceuticals and health products spent $267 million lobbying, the most ever recorded by a single industry in a year. Business associations spent the second highest total, $183 million.

Among individual groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was easily the biggest spender at $145 million. Exxon Mobil Corp. was a distant second at $27 million.

Highlighting how lobbying expenditures have grown in recent years, such spending totaled $1.4 billion in 1998, the first year for which the center has comparable figures.

Do shareholders know how much of their money is being handed over to Congress instead of being given to them in dividends?

It’s time to demand that Congress pass the Fair Elections Now Act.

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Written by Valerie Curl

February 12, 2010 at 5:15 PM

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