WHAT: For the lobbying industry, 2009 was the most profitable year ever. Special interests paid $3.47 billion to lobby the federal government last year, up from $3.3 billion in 2008. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics tallied income data from tens of thousands of disclosure filings.
WHY: The center suggested that businesses see lobbying as a critical tool to protect their future interests, particularly when the Obama administration’s aggressive change agenda is making Congress vote on issues that could seriously affect their bottom lines.
WHO’S SPENDING: No. 1 was the pharmaceutical and health products industry, which paid $266.8 million — “the greatest amount ever spent on lobbying efforts by a single industry for one year,” according to the center. Business associations spent $183 million, oil and gas interests spent $168.4 million and the insurance industry shelled out $164.2 million.