NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lobbyists' Spending Reaches Stunning Heights

May 12, 1999

In just the final six months of last year, Washington lobbyists spent $702.8 million trying to influence politicians, according to the consulting firm Public Disclosure Inc.

That amounts to $117.1 million a month -- a figure which the firm's officials say stunned them.

  • Communications and technology companies topped the list, spending $94.4 million between July 1 and December 31, 1998 -- with Bell Atlantic alone accounting for $11.7 million.
  • Finance and insurance companies spent $91.9 million.
  • Tobacco companies, by contrast, spent only $21.3 million in the period.
  • The numbers may actually understate the total amount spent because they do not include amounts reported separately to the Justice Department by foreign lobbyists.

Experts had expected the total figures to be lower since the period covered included the 1998 election campaign -- during which some Senators and members of Congress were often back home trying to win votes.

Source: Bill McAllister, "No Dearth of Lavish Lobbying in 1998," Washington Post, May 11, 1999.


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