The Unmatched Power of Corporate Lobbying
The author looks beyond the visible issue of campaign contributions and argues that the real influence on policy, legislation and regulation comes through the very large sums of money spent on lobbying.
The author contends that in recent years over US$3.2 billion is spent annually on formal lobbying, with at least that much again on non-reported lobbying-related activity.
If this money were spent by a broad variety of interest groups, its cumulative effects would likely not be very significant. However, over 80% of the lobbying spend comes from corporate interests. According to the author's analysis, organised interests that might provide a counter-balancing force to business – such as labour unions or consumer advocacy groups – spend a mere US$1 for every US$34 spent by business.
The author argues this very large, and still growing, imbalance gives corporate interests undue influence over the entire range of the policy and law-making process.
Thumbnail image: Cydor Offices/Flickr.