At first I thought “These aren’t so bad.” But then I noticed that the numbers were billions not millions. And these are only the above the table stuff. Being a US senator must be the best job in the universe.
Much like defense they don’t have to. The product they provide is so valuable to the operation of the country that they don’t need to spend the money to lobby for legislation they want. Also many on the hill are already personally invested in oil so they make money on oil favourable legislation as it is.
One of the things that is especially sad about this system is that a portion of the two billion that big pharma has spent over the last decade recruiting congressmen could have been saved if congressmen were either smarter or less corrupt. Big pharma pays idiot congressmen who know nothing of intellectual property law, chemistry, or medicine in order to get in front of them long enough to explain why they should vote for or against a bill, providing what is probably the only information the congressman has regarding an upcoming bill. He doesn’t know anything about pharmacology, his constituents don’t even know the bill exists, so big pharma actually has to pay to play the game. Now, they have enough money to buy votes and get a congressman to introduce legislation on their behalf, so you shouldn’t feel too sorry for them. Who you should feel sorry for is the other three hundred million people living in what they thought was a democracy.
I’m always surprised how cheaply politicians are brought (especially in scandals and cases of clear bribery.) It must piss them off at some level, getting a cut in the tens/hundreds of thousands out of decisions worth hundreds of millions.
Any idea what computer/Internet lobbying could be? It has appeared to be a mostly open industry for a while. Perhaps it is evolving into a corporatist atmosphere where the big dogs want protection from the upstarts, like most of the rest of that list. Or maybe that net neutrality shit?
Microsoft does a lot of lobbying I believe. I’ve read that the tech industry basically ignored Washington until the 90s or something when they got hit by a lot of government action, and Microsoft and others started dumping a lot of money into lobbying. I’m sure it is the same gamut as any other industry: copyright protection, visas for workers, restrictions on exports, anti-trust, internet regulations, etc.
Lobbyist spending approaching $1 billion/year is scandalous for any government, regardless of the source. In the special case of pharma and health insurance, though, the companies that top the legal bribery list also deliver a service that has a remarkably poor price/performance ratio by international standards, unlike say the US defense industry. It’s not very hard to draw a connection between the relatively high prices and poor quality of US healthcare, its relative lack of proper regulation despite recent attempts, and the fact that the healthcare industries top lobbying expenses…
“You know the great thing about Congressmen? 50, 100 grand well spent will get one elected. But then, once they’re in, the incumbency rate is over 95%! So you can get on an average 18, 20 years use out of one of them. In these uncertain times, buying a United States Congressman is one of the best investments a corporation can make!”