A story in The Washington Post this morning on Wal-Mart’s lobbying (and other federal lobbying) set me off on a research trail. The Center for Responsive Politics – a non-partisan group – has released a study about lobbying the federal government in 2006. The total for the year is $2.6 billion. How is that money spent?
- Drug companies – $166,500,000
- Insurance – $129,100,000
- Electric utilities – $107,200,000
- Business associations – $103,100,000
- Computers/internet – $93,600,000
- Real estate – $82,300,000
The rest of the list can be found here.
The poor? Well, they are all joined together in a group called “Human Rights” that includes groups as diverse as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Taking out the ACS and the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the poor probably had less than $5,000,000 in lobbying representation in Washington last year.
It is hard to fathom but out of the $2,600,000,000 spent on federal lobbying last year $5,000,000 was specifically about the (broadly defined) poor.
This doesn’t just ensure that the poor will be with us always but that there will be more and more of them as their voices are further and further away from the corridors of power.