Sunday, July 05, 2009

why american policy sucks

La Vida Locavore | Out of curiosity I decided to see who was spending the most on lobbying in America. And Oh My Goodness - NO WONDER our policy sucks. No wonder it's nearly impossible to pass health care reform that provides all Americans with affordable care, a global warming bill that doesn't suck, and the Employee Free Choice Act. No wonder we're in these two stupid wars. I know everyone's aware of the problems lobbying poses to our country, but good lord, if people saw the sheer magnitude of it (and the comparatively paltry amounts spent in the people's interest) they would be outraged. So here goes. Here's the list of the top 100 (ranked by amount spent on lobbying in Q109). Enjoy.

I pulled up all of the reports for first quarter 2009 but over 20,000 items came up (and the report only shows the first 3000). OK, try again - all reports for over $1 million for first quarter 2009. This time a little over 100 came up (including AIG, who spent $1,250,000 on lobbying during that period).

So here's how to read this list: These are the amounts spent by the corporations listed. However, many (if not most) of these corporations ALSO contract out to private lobbying firms, so the amounts you see here MIGHT not be the total amount they spent on lobbying in Q109. For example, Monsanto spent $2,094,000 for its in house lobbying but then contracted out to Arent Fox LLP; Lesher, Russell & Barron, Inc. ($60,000); Ogilvy Government Relations ($60,000); Parven Pomper Strategies ($40,000); Sidley Austin LLP; TCH Group, LLC ($50,000); The Nickles Group, LLC ($63,000); The Washington Tax Group, LLC ($40,000); and Troutman Sanders Public Affairs Group ($30,000) - for a total of $2,437,000 in first quarter 2009.
As long as money controls American politics, it's a plutocracy. As long as corporations have personhood, it's a government by the richest machines.