K Street lobbyist spending stayed flat in 2010

After the furious lobbying in 2009 to get a piece of the federal spending pie through the Obama economic recovery stimulus program and the Obamacare health care reform measure, K Street lobbying firms saw their income from special interests remain flat in 2010, according to a new report issued today by the Center for Responsive Politics.

“After a record $3.49 billion in lobbying spending in 2009, lobbying expenditures in 2010 by corporations, unions, trade associations, universities and other organizations will, at most, eclipse that amount by the narrowest of margins,” the CRP said in a post o the group's excellent OpenSecrets blog.

“While financial, energy and defense-related industries enhanced their lobbying efforts last year, health-related industries and business associations generally scaled back.

“Together, all corporations and organizations invested $3.47 billion on lobbying last year, according to the Center’s analysis of 2010 lobbying reports, of which about 90 percent are available from the year’s fourth-quarter filings.”

The CRP data is culled from quarterly reports required to be filed by registered lobbyists working to influence issues and outcomes on Capitol Hill.

Sheila Krumholz, CRP's executive director, cautioned against reaching hasty decisions about the meaning of the new data:

“While special interests have finally hit the brakes in Washington’s high-stakes, big-dollar influence game, it's no surprise that they are still as deeply entrenched as ever,” said Krumholz.

“Lobbying on the top priorities of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats reached a fever pitch in 2009, when the bulk of the work was done on an economic stimulus package, climate change legislation, health insurance reforms, financial regulatory reforms, student loan reforms and more,” Krumholz said.

Even as the overall total seemed to remain virtually flat, however, CRP's study found that 13 of the top 20 firms and organizations increased their lobbying expenditures last year.

For more from the CRP study, including the names of the top 20 firms and organizations, and their amounts spent, go here.

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