Lobbying expenditures have increased in the second quarter of this year, and health care lobbyists appear to be the ones raking in the dough, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Around $262m has been spent on health care related lobbying so far this year. The graph below shows gives a breakdown of expenditure by sector. (Note: "Single Issue" refers to lobbying on topics like human rights, gun rights, Israel and abortion.)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to be the biggest individual spender. Each of the three biggest issues on Capitol Hill this year - the stimulus, climate change and health care - have been of significant concern to the Chamber's member companies, so they've been lobbying hard, doubling the spending of the next largest lobby. Almost every organization in the top ten graph below has a significant stake in either health care or environment. It's a departure from previous years, where ordinarily Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin would appear high on the list. (It's also a big change from say 1998, where the two biggest spenders were British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris.) Oddly, the American Medical Association has been outspent - usually it is in the top ten but this year it comes in at number 13, spending $8.4m so far this year. Interestingly, despite it's financial challenges, General Motors has still managed to spend around $5.6m on lobbying this year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, expenditure on health care and energy lobbying has grown at a faster rate than spending on other topics over the last ten years. The compound annual growth rate (not adjusted for inflation) for health care lobbying from 1998 to 2008 was just over 11% compared with 8% on finance, 9.6% on energy and 7.3% on communications, which represented a greater proportion of lobbying spending in the late 1990s.