These days, succeeding in persuading the government to take action requires more than an eloquent speech or having the right connections in Washington. More than likely, it takes quite the pocketbook as well. Lobbying has become a trillion-dollar industry as government interests continue to expand. Especially with the government becoming more involved in industries such as health care and the automotive sector, the never-ending battle over funds from the state is only set to escalate in the coming decades.
Lobbying is a process that can have distinctive benefits for many different groups of people. It allows for organizations to convey information to government officials, which can lead to improved social or economic policy goals. It creates forums for debate between different groups and sets of politicians, providing an effective means by which research can be profitably undertaken in order to support an opinion. Also, it helps to create employment within lobbying groups and corporations that participate in the process. However, lobbying is a word that comes with its fair set of negative connotations. Associated with overspending, corruption, and the increasing intertwining of corporation and the government, many Americans have come to view excessive lobbying as an unnecessary evil.
In the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, sentiments toward lobbyists from many people have sunk to an all time low. In addition, battles between groups of lobbyists often mean that, when one group wins, another group loses. The website opensecrets.org is dedicated to tracking and informing the public about the flows of money in the U.S. government, monitoring such activities as campaign contributions and lobbying. In 2013, many companies and organizations have crossed the $10 million threshold, including Northrop Grumman, AT&T, Google, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. Courtesy of their data, here are the top 6 lobbying organizations, by dollar amount, so far this year.