Big Companies Spending Less On Lobbying

by InvestorPlace Staff | July 24, 2012 5:15 pm

[1]If K Street has seemed a little less busy over the past few months, there’s a good reason for that.

The top 50 lobbying spenders spent $30 million less[2] in the second quarter of this year than they did during the first quarter, according to lobbying disclosure releases. Overall, they spent $168 million between April and June.

In many cases, the corporations and trade groups that make up the top lobbying spenders made deep cuts to their lobbying efforts. AT&T (NYSE:T[3]) went from spending $7.05 million during the first quarter to $3.49 million in the second, a nearly 50% cut. Also making $1 million-plus cuts were companies like ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM[4]), General Electric (NYSE:GE[5]), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG[6]), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE[7]), Novartis (NYSE:NVS[8]), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ[9]).

Only 11 of the 50 largest lobbying spenders reported increases in how much they had spent between the first and second quarter. This group includes companies like Koch Industries (run by the Republican-supporting Koch brothers), BP (NYSE:BP[10]),  and Altria (NYSE:MO[11]), as well as the National Education Association.

Also worth noting from the disclosure reports is Facebook‘s (NASDAQ:FB[12]) move into lobbying. It set a record for quarterly spending on lobbying in the second quarter, shelling out $960,000.  Compare that to the $650,000 it spent in the first quarter, or the $320,000 it spent during the second quarter last year. That $960,000, in fact, is 16 times what it spent on lobbying during the second quarter of 2010.

Additionally, despite the threat of sequestration and large defense cuts, big-name defense contractors Boeing (NYSE:BA[13]) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT[14]) did not increase their lobbying expenditures. Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC[15]) and General Dynamics (NYSE:GD[16]) did increase their spending on lobbying.

For more information, or more complete figures on lobbying spending, check out this Politico [17]article[18].

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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