Corporate America dominated Washington’s lobbying spending in the first quarter of 2011, according to a report out Tuesday from the Center for Responsive Politics.
According to the Center, the US Chamber of Commerce topped the list, with spending of just over $17 million in the three-month period. Next was General Electric , a minority owner of NBC Universal and CNBC, with just over $9 million, and AT&T , with spending of just over $6.8 million.
The highest ranked non-business interest group was AARP, which placed ninth with $5 million in quarterly lobbying spending.
Ranked by sector, the pharmaceutical and health industry topped the list with spending of over $62.5 million, followed by the insurance industry with just under $40 million and the oil and gas sector with $39.4 million in spending.
The Center said the Chamber of Commerce topped the list because it includes not only federal but also state level and grass roots spending in its official reporting to Congress, something that other lobbying groups don’t do.
And the Chamber of Commerce’s spending was down dramatically from the previous quarter, when it reported nearly $51 million in spending.
In its report, the Center noted that some of the lobbying spending was driven by hot topics in the news. “Outrage over the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson, Ariz., prompted gun control groups to nearly double their lobbying expenditures,” the Center reported, “going from $40,000 during the first quarter of 2009 to $75,000 during the first quarter of 2011.”
And calls to end the collective bargaining rights of unions in states across the country sparked spending by those groups, the Center found, as “public sector unions reported spending 36 percent more on federal lobbying, according to the Center's research, going from $3 million in the first quarter of 2009 to $4 million in the first quarter of 2011.”