It turns out some businesses are thriving in the downturn, with lobbyists a prime example. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, lobbyist revenues increased 5% in 2009 versus 2008. As The Hill noted (hat tip DoctoRx):
Lobbyists have said business for them managed to remain upbeat throughout 2009 despite the poor economy because of the Obama administration’s aggressive legislative agenda.
With expanded Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill from the 2008 election, the White House pushed sweeping bills to reform the healthcare industry, tackle climate change and bring Wall Street under control. None of that ambitious legislation has come to fruition yet, but President Barack Obama and other Democrats will want to finish those bills this year, so expect a busy 2010 for lobbying as well.
The healthcare debate took up much of the oxygen in Washington last year. So not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical and health products industry spent a record amount last year — close to $266.8 million — on federal lobbying.
That is the biggest lobbying expenditure ever by a single industry in one year, according to the report.
The detailed breakdown of spending by industry shows the broader “health” category spent $544 million, up 11.7% over 2008, while “finance, insurance, and real estate” doled out $465 million, up a mere 1.4% over the prior year. Of course, since bankers spend so much on Congressmen directly, maybe they don’t need to shell out as much on lobbying.