U.S. Chamber Reports Record Spending on Lobbying

Posted October 19, 2009 at 1:29pm

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce shelled out a record $34.7 million for federal lobbying in the third quarter of this year as the powerful business group sought to influence a wide gamut of issues from health care to legislation involving pythons.The chamber’s lobbying report, which was filed Monday with the Senate, shows a substantial increase from its spending in the first and second quarters of this year, when it spent $9.9 million and $7.4 million, respectively.While the business group has historically outspent other companies and associations when it comes to federal lobbying and has often ramped up its expenditures in the latter half of the year, the spike this time is substantially greater than in the past. In 2008, the group reported spending $20.6 million in the third quarter and $24 million in the fourth quarter.So far this year, the chamber has spent $52 million compared with $38.3 million for the same period in 2008. While third-quarter lobbying reports are not due until Tuesday, a number of associations and companies have filed early.The chamber has a robust lobbying agenda that includes many of the major issues being tackled by the Obama administration and Congress.According to the chamber’s 91-page disclosure report, it is lobbying on appropriations bills, economic stimulus and trade legislation, health care reform, weapons acquisition reform, energy and climate change, union organizing, and transportation issues, among other matters.The business group is also interested in less visible legislation, listing on its lobbying report a resolution “to amend title 18 United States Code, to include constrictor snakes of the Python genera as an injurious animal.—Even as the chamber substantially increases its lobbying effort, it has had to deal with dissension in its ranks. A handful of companies recently resigned from the group because of disagreements over the chamber’s opposition to climate change legislation.On Monday, chamber officials were busy responding to a hoax press release claiming that the chamber had changed its position on climate change legislation. The chamber remains opposed to the House’s bill.