Diana Marrero at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today points out that despite the recession, businesses have spent as much as ever on lobbyists. From the article:
While Americans across the country tightened their belts, companies, organizations and other entities spent an average of 5% more on Washington lobbyists last year. The total amount spent on federal lobbying reached a record $3.5 billion in 2009, according to the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.
What’s implicit, although not expressly stated in the article, is that much of the lobbying is due to the vast expansion of government during the recession. The “stimulus” plan was a gold mine for lobbyists – directing government money toward their pet projects. While Wisconsin was in the process of losing 170,000 private sector jobs last year, the number of government jobs actually grew.
This follows a slow motion phenomenon that has been growing for decades. As government passes more and more laws and regulations and takes over more control of our lives, it makes perfect sense for special interests to lobby up – either to get their slice of the government goods that are being handed out or to protect their members from the growing tentacles of the law.
Want to get rid of the lobbyists? It’s simple – we don’t need campaign finance “reform.” We need to get the government out of our lives.