The Lobbying Industry Boom

From the December 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

Few industries have experienced as much growth as lobbying these last few years. The number of registered lobbyists in the U.S. has doubled to more than 34,750 since 2000.

Along with that has come an increase in the amount of money being channelled into lobbying by corporations, labor unions and interest groups. The overall spending on federal lobbying—evidently an extremely lucrative business—has risen 30 percent to $2.1 billion since 2000, but that only gives a small picture of how much money is actually spent.

Lobbying regulations are not tightly enforced. According to a study published by the Center for Public Integrity in April, at least 14,000 disclosure documents required by law had not been filed since 1998. And what is really misleading is that indirect lobbying is left out of official calculations.

Countless dollars are spent by companies to try to profit from tax breaks, loosened regulations, and any other government handouts. Some companies eagerly watch for any opportunities to squeeze more dollars from the government, hiring lobbyists and lawyers to merely keep up with any changes in regulations and in Washington.

But let’s not forget the other side of the coin. Lawmakers are accepting billions of dollars, allowing money to influence their decisions. It is doubtful that lawmakers will institute stricter regulations or enforcement of regulations when they are some of the biggest benefactors. The growing industry means more lavish meals and private trips paid for, and more campaign dollars and fund-raisers.

Adding to the greed cycle are former members of Congress routinely becoming lobbyists themselves.

This growing industry does not bode well for the nation of America and its taxpayers. It means government spending will continue to mushroom out of control as lawmakers spend more and more money, putting a higher priority on the interests of lobbyists than the people they should be representing.