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Why American Policy SUCKS

by: Jill Richardson

Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 17:23:20 PM PDT


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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.

Health Care, Health Insurance, & Pharma
3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000
6. Pfizer, Inc: $6,140,000
12. American Medical Association: $4,240,000
18. American Hospital Association: $3,580,000
19. Eli Lilly and Company: $3,440,000
37. America's Health Insurance Plans, Inc: $2,030,000
39. CVS Caremark Inc: $2,005,000
47. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association: $1,800,000
49. GlaxoSmithKline: $1,780,000
63. Merck & Co: $1,500,000
65. United Health Group, Inc: $1,500,000
69. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc: $1,460,000
76. Novartis: $1,347,134
87. Abbott Laboratories: $1,260,000
89. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP: $1,250,000
92. Medtronic, Inc: $1,238,000

Oil
2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000
4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000
7. Conoco Phillips: $5,980,935
16. BP America, Inc: $3,610,000
20. Marathon Oil Corporation: $3,380,000
45. American Petroleum Institute: $1,810,000

Defense
5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000
11. General Electric Company: $4,540,000
28. Northrop Grumman Corporation: $2,570,000
30. Boeing Company: $2,410,00
51. Honeywell International: $1,760,000
73. Raytheon Company: $1,360,000

Telecoms
10. AT&T Services, Inc: $5,134,873
14. Verizon (excluding Verizon Wireless): $3,760,000
21. National Cable and Telecommunications Association: $3,370,000
23. Comcast Corporation: $2,760,000
68. Motorola, Inc: $1,470,000

Automotive
22. General Motors: $2,800,000
27. United Services Automobile Association: $2,590,244
52. Ford Motor Company: $1,750,000
84. Toyota Motor North America: $1,290,000
86. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: $1,264,400

Financial
32. Financial Services Roundtable: $2,260,000
33. Prudential Financial, Inc: $2,180,000
41. American Bankers Association: $1,890,000
61. Visa, Inc: $1,540,000
74. Investment Company Institute: $1,359,917
75. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association: $1,350,000
82. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.: $1,310,000
90. Citigroup Management Corp: $1,250,000
90. Credit Union National Association: $1,250,000

Biotech
36. Monsanto: $2,094,000
40. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO): $1,920,000
44. Bayer Corporation: $1,843,672

Railroads
24. Association of American Railroads: $2,759,545
54. Union Pacific Corporation: $1,717,108
71. BNSF Railway: $1,400,000

Life Insurance
42. American Council of Life Insurers: $1,867,075
44. New York Life Insurance Company: $1,840,000
64. State Farm Insurance: $1,500,000
93. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company: $1,237,000

Other
1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000
8. National Association of Realtors: $5,727,000
9. U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $5,480,000
13. AARP: $4,090,000
15. Southern Company: $3,650,000
17. Altria Client Services Inc: $3,580,000
25. Amgen, Inc: $2,750,000
26. National Association of Broadcasters: $2,600,000
29. Edison Electric Institute: $2,550,000
31. Fedex Corporation: $2,370,000
34. Textron, Inc.: $2,140,000
35. General Dynamics Corp: $2,101,945
38. International Business Machines (IBM): $2,030,000
43. United Technologies Corporation: $1,860,000
46. Recording Industry Association of America: $1,810,000
48. CTIA-The Wireless Association: $1,790,000
50. Time Warner Inc. $1,780,000
53. The Dow Chemical Company: $1,735,000
55. American Electric Power Company: $1,716,913
56. Microsoft Corporation: $1,650,000
57. Qualcomm, Incorporated: $1,620,000
58. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: $1,600,000
59. L-3 Communications: $1,580,000
60. Exelon Business Services, LLC: $1,540,000
62. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc: $1,530,000
66. Norfolk Southern Corporation: $1,485,026
67. Koch Companies Public Sector LLC: $1,480,000
70. American Airlines: $1,450,000
72. Oracle Corporation: $1,390,000
77. Air Transport Association of America, Inc.: $1,340,000
78. Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.: $1,330,000
79. Sepracor, Inc: $1,324,157
80. National Association of Home Builders: $1,320,000
81. UPS: $1,316,426
83. Siemens Corporation: $1,300,000
85. Duke Energy Corporation: $1,282,770
94. Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., Inc: $1,230,000
95. Business Roundtable: $1,220,000
96. Wellpoint, Inc: $1,220,000
97. American Wind Energy Association: $1,212,504
98. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: $1,206,427
99. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: $1,200,000
99. CBS Corporation: $1,200,000

(Update: I removed a typo for one company whose report says $990,000,000 making them the #1 spender on lobbying... turns out they spent $990,000)

Jill Richardson :: Why American Policy SUCKS
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I saw this on dk (4.00 / 3)
People wanted to be sure the amount was correct on your first company.  Is  it really almost a billion dollars, or is there an extra zero?

I just fixed it (4.00 / 2)
their report had a typo, apparently. There were several extra 0s.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
You really sound like (4.00 / 4)
a commie nazi pinko fascist anarchist here.

Vote for yourself at www.ni4d.us!

As long as we are talkin' about policy that SUCKS . . . (4.00 / 4)
Headline on Yahoo:

Senate Dems pare back health bill

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200...

"There's no doubt in my mind we're going to get a bipartisan bill," Baucus told reporters as he emerged from a meeting with a small group of Republicans he referred to as a "coalition of the willing."

we're so screwed.


yes we are (4.00 / 3)
the question remains what are we willing to do about it? These sell outs that continue to get huge campaign contributions from special interests count on our silence.



[ Parent ]
I often wonder. . . (4.00 / 4)
. . . how they can burn through that much money on  legal lobbying activities.

I mean - they can't actually just hand bundles of cash to the lawmakers. And these guys can only have so many meetings, and write/read so many documents, and eat so many fancy dinners in any one year.

If you took some of those budgets and divided them by the total number of lawmakers. . . what are they doing?!

To what extent are average shareholders picking up the tab for a kind of institutionalized rich old guy welfare? We know that everybody who gets voted out of office seems to wind up with a fancy office on K Street. . .


One Dollar -- One Vote (4.00 / 3)
It's the American way of doing business government.

Whatever happened to campaign finance reform? Millionaires voting to shut off the golden tit?

I have to stop laughing before I piss myself.

Yankee Frugality: use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.


The numbers... (4.00 / 4)
come to $41,500,000 for the 16 medical care/pharmaceutical firms listed. Almost $42 million for the first 3 months of 2009!  

Now there are 535 members of Congress. That would be $77,000 per member of Congress.

And as Jill indicated, Monsanto spent 16% more contracting out some of their lobbying activities. So perhaps we could just boost the totals by, say, 10%?  So that would be a total of $45 million and per member of $84,000.

Think that would buy any votes?


That's truly obscene (4.00 / 4)
I'm with robespierrette on this... how on earth do they spend that much money legally?

Did anyone see the DK diary about calling and writing the White House about health care because someone taking calls said that opinion was heavily against a public option? How does that happen when the latest NBC/WSJ polls shows 76% of Americans support a public option?

My guess:

Health Care, Health Insurance, & Pharma
5. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000
8. Pfizer, Inc: $6,140,000
12. American Medical Association: $4,240,000
18. American Hospital Association: $3,580,000
19. Eli Lilly and Company: $3,440,000
37. America's Health Insurance Plans, Inc: $2,030,000
39. CVS Caremark Inc: $2,005,000
47. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association: $1,800,000
49. GlaxoSmithKline: $1,780,000
63. Merck & Co: $1,500,000
65. United Health Group, Inc: $1,500,000
69. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc: $1,460,000
76. Novartis: $1,347,134
87. Abbott Laboratories: $1,260,000
89. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP: $1,250,000
92. Medtronic, Inc: $1,238,000

Think of all the people you could pay to make calls (and write letters to the editor and post on blogs and write articles) all day, every day with that kind of money.

I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
--"Blueberries" by Robert Frost


[ Parent ]
P.S.... (4.00 / 4)
Jill, thanks for your work in tracking down these numbers.

I just dropped a note . . . (4.00 / 3)
. . . into the White House email-box, pointing out the lobbying-per-Senator/Representative numbers we pulled together here from the medical/health insurance/pharmaceutical companies.

Just in case anybody reads it. :|

The last time I wrote the White House was back in 2002, when I wrote to President Bush. My note that time was "Where is the Marshall Plan for Afghanistan?", in which I outlined the consequences if we didn't improve the standard of living for the average Afghan. I also pointed out (this was in 2002), that doing anything about Iraq would take away from our chances of success in Afghanistan.

Somehow, I feel like - if anyone does read the mail - they've got to be more receptive than the last Administration. That's a pretty low bar, of course. :P


I called the Senate Finance Committee (4.00 / 2)
and then sent an email. The girl on the phone promised to circulate my email around to the people on the committee. She said the best way to reach the committee is via fax - 202-228-0554.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Stick to your knitting, Jill (1.00 / 2)
I agree that the lobbyists' money is excessive, and corporations probably should be banned outright from lobbying.  However, you're seriously misguided about health care "reform", global warming and the Employee Free Choice Act.

EFCA will effectively enslave workers and hurt employers.  It should be called the Employee No-Choice Act.  If you've read George Orwell's 1984, a book that was required reading when I was in high school, you know how that works.

Global warming?  Last week's Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade Bill is the biggest regressive tax ever passed by the House of Representatives in the U.S., and won't change global warming one scintilla.  Most Congress-critters who voted in a rush for its 1200-plus pages had no idea what it contained. It's a legislative travesty.  Can you afford to pay $3,000 more a year for food, energy and the essentials of life ... and get NOTHING in return?  I can't.

Obama Care?  If you're in favor of that, you probably aren't in need of serious medical care now and haven't yet lost a family member to "socialized medicine"; I have.  My aunt in Canada suffered a stroke some years ago, and her family rushed her to the hospital.  Normally, if strokes are treated within the first hour, the "Golden Hour" as doctors call it, the chances of recovery without lasting effects are very good.  Instead, they left her lying on a gurney in the hallway for six hours, yes, six bloody hours, before looking at her.  She was left severely crippled, unable to talk.  Mercifully, after going through living hell for a year she suffered another massive stroke that killed her.  A few years later, my uncle (widower of that same aunt) had a growth in his throat.  In the U.S. he would have been in surgery within hours, but in Canada he had to wait three months, yes, three damn months, before he could be seen by a surgeon.  Fortunately, it wasn't cancerous, and he survived that ordeal.  Until Canada implemented "affordable" health care, their health care system was second to none in the world.  Before the UK implemented socialized medicine, they changed the sheets when a new patient was assigned to a hospital bed, instead of just turning the sheets over.  Is that what we want for the U.S., too?


Gee, could you be any more sexist? (4.00 / 1)
Manly Essence Pictures, Images and Photos

I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
--"Blueberries" by Robert Frost


[ Parent ]
Troll (0.00 / 0)
I have a very good friend who had a stroke fifteen years ago. She had the best medical coverage available. She's still partially paralyzed. And she has a speech impediment; she stammers; unless she smokes a little pot. Then she sounds perfectly normal.

I have a close relative who has had MS for TWENTY YEARS, and is live today only BECAUSE SHE HAS ACCESS TO MEDICARE.

Why do every one of you stupid trolls always resort to faulty syllogisms?



Yankee Frugality: use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.


[ Parent ]
Just wait ... (0.00 / 0)
... until you need medical attention for a serious condition -- after you turn 68 and Obama Care has been in place for a few years.  Let's see if you'll still feel so smug and terminally self-righteous.

[ Parent ]
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