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Lobbyists Have Spent $13 Billion in US Since 1998, Little Resources for Monitoring Their Activities

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Section: International News Geography: USA Topics: democracy

April 13, 2005

Lobbyists Have Spent $13 Billion in US Since 1998, Little Resources for Monitoring Their Activities

by Sandy Hager

According to a recent report, special interest groups in the US have spent close to $13 billion in lobbying to influence Congress, the White House, and over 200 other federal agencies since 1998.

The report, entitled "Industry of Influence Nets Almost $13 Billion," which is published by the Centre for Public Integrity, also suggests that the resources devoted to monitor lobbying groups are minimal because the federal agencies in charge of these areas lack the staff to adequately track the billions of dollars given to lobbying efforts each year.

This, according to the authors, has led to a lack of media and public scrutiny towards the practice of lobbying in the US despite the fact that lobbyists have an incredible impact on the federal government's decision-making process.

This lack of scrutiny and monitoring of lobbyists reinforces the lack of scrutiny of lobbying groups, and the ability to scrutinize lobbying efforts is further hampered by ineffective federal legislation demanding the disclosure of lobbying activities, the report's authors explained.

The Centre for Public Integrity examined the US federal government's mandatory disclosure forms and found that many of them were sent in well past deadline dates, while some of the sections in many of the forms were filled in improperly or left blank. The report also suggests that there is an "unknown number" of lobbyists that fail to file disclosure reports at all.

The Centre for Public Integrity: Industry of Influence Nets Almost $13 Billion

Inter Press Service News Agency: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

The Globe and Mail: Altria, GE, and Verizon big spenders as lobbyists go on binge

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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