Brace yourself for this news, but paying lobbyists pays off

Now why am I first thinking of Lawrence Summers and Phil Gramm? Anyway, this research confirms what many already believed. The system as it stands today remains much too susceptible to the influence deep pockets and the highest bidder. This report is not the most comforting news for democracy. Business can’t afford not to have lobbyists but democracy can’t afford to have them in this form. There’s nothing inherently wrong with lobbyists though lobbyists on steroids in our current system which requires massive amounts of cash to win elections is the problem.

The study zeros in on 93 firms that spent as much as $282.7 million lobbying on the issue during that period, and ultimately saved a total of $62.5 billion through the tax change. Researchers used publicly available lobbying disclosures filed with Congress and financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission to compare the amount each company saved with its lobbying expenditures.

“It calls into question what Congress did in 2004,” said Stephen Mazza, who conducted the study with Raquel Alexander and Susan Scholz. “It clearly is a very lucrative field for lobbyists. Congress wanted to create jobs, and what they probably did was create jobs for the lobbyists.”

The results reflect one reason that lobbying — always a major industry in Washington — has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Companies and interest groups spent $3.42 billion lobbying Congress and the federal government in 2008, the last year for which such figures are available, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a 14 percent jump from the previous year.

If Obama wants to cut into this system, as he says he does, he knows who has to go first. Why he even hired Summers in the first place is annoying.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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