Jack Abramoff may have been indicted on criminal charges, but big-time lobbyists don’t seem to be losing any influence. A survey released yesterday by the Hill found that lobbyists are on pace to set new records for revenue this year:
Though conventional wisdom holds that election years typically see a decline in lobbying expenditures as party strategists and supporters move beyond the Beltway to the hinterland, lobbying spending actually grew last year. Spending grew to $2.14 billion in 2004, a 7 percent increase over 2003, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.
The growth trend seems like[ly] to continue.
That survey, taken alongside a study by the Center for Public Integrity, paints a startling picture of how powerful lobbyists have become. The CPI found that, at the state level, lobbyists (all 38,000 of them) spent almost 1 billion dollars in 2004. For a sense of comparison, that’s five lobbyists and $130,000 for every state legislator in the country.
It’s a lot of lobbying, in other words. And those numbers don’t even speak to the intense lobbying that takes place every week on Capitol Hill.