Lobbying Expenses Increase, Lobbyists in Washington Decrease

Lobbying spending in the first six months of 2017- $1.66 billion- is the highest it’s been since the first half of 2012. After the first half of 2012, lobbying spending dropped by about $50 million in 2013.

However, according to Open Secrets, the number of lobbyists in DC is shrinking. “Since the first quarter of this year, approximately 940 stopped lobbying, but 605 new lobbyists entered the fray. This ebb and flow brought the total number of active lobbyists for the second quarter to 9,460- 335 less than the first quarter.

While it may seem like lobbyists are dwindling, a report from the Center of Responsive Politics shows that one-third of 2016 lobbyists “who were not active in the first quarter of 2017 stayed at the same company, but now work under a new title that suggests they still work to influence US federal policy.” Therefore, Open Secrets predicts that many former lobbyists stay involved in influencing policy without the same level of public scrutiny.

One area of major lobbying growth has been in the internet industry. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, are “at the forefront of the industry’s lobbying efforts.”  The internet industry increased its lobbying spending by fourteen percent in the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six month of 2016. Other tech companies such as Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp also saw increased lobbying efforts in the first half of 2017. Apple’s lobbying efforts increased by 60 percent, while Microsoft’s increased by 9 percent. However, groups lobbying on women’s issues saw a major drop in lobbying spending. The exception to that rule are organizations that lobby for Planned Parenthood.

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