Lobbying champions: Chamber of Commerce, GE, and PhRMA 

The first-quarter lobbying filings for 2010 are in, and while the big-picture numbers will take a while to crunch, we’ve got some interesting data.

The largest lobbying entity last quarter — and every quarter — was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $25.1 million. That’s down from the last two quarters when the Chamber smashed all records with $71.2 million and $34.7 million.

General Electric is, once again, the company that spent the most on lobbying. GE is a defense contractor, an investor in carbon credits, a medical device maker, a smart-grid maker, a human-embryo experimenter, a freight-rail company, and a battery maker. All of those businesses rely on government money. GE spent $7.1 million on lobbying last quarter.

In the arena of industry groups, the drugmakers win. The Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), spent $7.0 million on lobbying. PhRMA, of course, was one of Obama’s top allies in the fight over health-care legislation.

This data doesn’t perfectly fit Obama’s rhetorical war against the “special interests.” The Chamber and the White House have been at odds, but GE is extremely cozy with the administration, and PhRMA basically hit the game-winning RBI for Obama’s biggest accomplishment to date.

As a footnote, Pacific Gas & Electric actually submitted a filing reporting even more than the Chamber. The filing notes, however, that almost all of that money was spent promoting Proposition 16, aimed at limiting the ability of localities to bypass PG&E in power purchases.

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Timothy P. Carney

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