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Automakers Report 1st Quarter Spending on Outside Lobbyists

Automakers and financial services firms that received federal bailout funds continued to spend large amounts of money to influence Congress this year, according to Senate lobbying disclosure reports filed as of Sunday evening. The reports are due Monday by 5 p.m.

While none of the automakers had filed their individual company lobbying reports as of Sunday evening, outside firms for the struggling Big Three automakers have reported billing nearly $550,000 in the first quarter of 2009 on federal lobbying.

General Motors, which has received $13.4 billion in U.S. government loans, spent the most on outside consultants during the first quarter. The Duberstein Group, the Nickles Group, Covington & Burling and BKSH & Associates reported billing a total of $220,000 to the company, which is currently working on a bankruptcy plan to present to the Obama administration.

Chrysler spent $190,000 on outside consultants, according to Senate lobbying disclosure reports. The automaker, which is currently negotiating an alliance with Italian car company Fiat in order to receive more federal loans, has Timmons & Co. and Venable on retainer.

Ford has spent the least on outside lobbyists so far. King & Spalding, Ernst & Young and Mayer Brown billed the company a combined $135,000 during the first quarter.

Financial services firms that received money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program also doled out large amounts of money on federal lobbying during the first quarter.

Morgan Stanley, which has said it would like to repay the $10 billion it received in government loans as soon as possible, reported spending $540,000 on federal lobbying in the first quarter, a figure which includes internal lobbying costs and monies paid to its outside consultants.

Morgan Stanley is the only large financial services firm that had filed its company report as of Sunday evening.

Goldman Sachs spent $265,000 on outside consultants, having on retainer the Gephardt Group, the Duberstein Group and RR&G, among others, according to Senate lobbying reports.

Smith-Free Group and Quadripoint Strategies billed Bank of America $90,000 during the first quarter of 2009.

Citigroup paid its outside lobbying team of Capitol Hill Strategies and Ernst & Young $120,000 during the first quarter.

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