The Obamaconomy’s Growth Industry: Lobbying

by Henry Payne

President Obama has fancied himself the defender of the little guy in a Washington overrun by lobbyists. Famously reacting to a Supreme Court ruling early in his term that prevented Congress from muzzling campaign speech, Obama declared that the Court had ” given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington.”

In truth, however, it is Obama’s surge of regulation that has enriched Washington lobbyists and rewarded special interests.

Exhibit A: Green mpg mandates. As a result of Obama’s increased meddling in auto fuel economy, Big Auto is pouring increased green into Washington lobbying.

“The U.S. auto industry is stepping up its lobbying and spending on political donations as the White House moves to boost fuel economy standards,” reports Bloomberg News. “GM spent $5.5 million during the first six months of 2011 to try to influence Congress and federal agencies, up from $4.1 million in the same period a year earlier, according to lobbying disclosures released this week. Chrysler, controlled by Fiat, more than doubled its lobbying spending to $2.4 million from $1.1 million.”

Automaker PACs also gave more to federal campaigns, Federal Election Commission reports show.

In short, bigger government means a bigger lobbying budgets to influence its decisions — and more money for pols to broker disputes. “It is a life-or-death issue” for the automakers a former U.S. transportation secretary tells Bloomberg of the Obamandates. “They have to use the usual tools to educate decision-makers.”

Barack Obama is the best friend the lobbyist industry ever had.

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