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Lobbyists work on the behalf of their clients or the groups they're representing to convince the government or others involved in public policy development to make a decision that is beneficial to them.

From politics to lobbying

"Election to Congress used to be an end in itself. Now, for nearly half of federal lawmakers, it is a steppingstone to a second career: lobbying," the Washington Post reports. According to a new study by LobbyingInfo.org, a project of the liberal group Public Citizen, 43 percent of Congressional members who have left office since 1998 have registered to lobby.[1] "The revolving door is spinning faster than ever," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. "When nearly half the lawmakers in Congress use their position to move into a job that pays so handsomely, it's time to change the system."

Lobbying at State level

"Vested interests are working harder than ever to achieve their goals in state capitols and state agencies across the country," the Center for Public Integrity reported in 2005. The organization's review of 2004 lobbying activities found that nearly $953 million was spent "attempting to influence state legislators and executive branch officials" in the 42 states that track such spending. Twenty-five states saw an increase in lobbying expenditures. State-level lobbying has grown to the point where there are now, on average, "five lobbyists and almost $130,000 in expenditures per state legislator." Several states did boost their oversight of lobbying in 2004, by strengthening registration and disclosure requirements, establishing a "cooling-off period" for former lawmakers planning to become lobbyists, or restricting lobbyists' gifts to public officials. [2]

Lobbying: a real growth industry

"U.S. corporations and interest groups spent a total of $1.16 billion to lobby Washington in the first half of 2005, setting a record." From January through June 2005, "corporations, trade associations, lawyers and unions spent about $6.5 million a day to lobby Congress and the Bush administration." Since 1999, lobbying spending has increased an average of 10 percent each year. But the first half of 2005 alone saw an eight percent increase over the previous six months. [3]

Top lobbyists were AARP ($27.8 million, "mainly to defeat the Social Security plan"), General Electric ($13.9 million, on the "asbestos-litigation overhaul and tax policy"), the United States Telecom Association ($11.4 million), U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($8.6 million, plus another $9.5 million through its Institute for Legal Reform), American Medical Association ($9.5 million), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. ($7.3 million) and Altria ($6.7 million). [4]

Selected lobbying firms


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US databases on lobbyists

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