Lobbying disclosure forms for the third quarter of 2011 are due tonight, and corporate America’s tort reform lobby has so far topped the list of the most profligate spenders. According to Politico:
More than two dozen companies, trade associations and lobby shops are reporting paying out more than $1 million on lobbying over the past three months. So far, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform is topping that list, reporting shelling out nearly $4.2 million in July through August of this year. Registered lobbyists have until midnight tonight to file. Other top spenders thus far include defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. ($4.2 M), the United Services Automobile Association ($2.8 M), the aerospace company United Technologies Corp. ($2.7 M) and Prudential Financial ($2.6 M).
It’s unclear, however, why the Chamber even feels the need to spend all this money — since they already own an entire branch of the federal government. Often at the Chamber’s urging, the Supreme Court has empowered corporations to force consumers and workers into a privatized, corporate-owned arbitration system that overwhelmingly favors corporate parties. They have given corporations a magic key that will immunize them from class action lawsuits brought by their consumers. And they’ve given drug companies and other major corporations sweeping immunity from state law.