The lobbying industry generated a record $3.7 billion in revenue in 2021, The Washington Post reported over the weekend, citing data compiled by OpenSecrets, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. Lobbying spending last year rose by 6% over 2020 as companies and industry associations looked to sway lawmakers on trillions of dollars in pandemic spending and related regulations.
“Manufacturers, unions, financial companies and technology firms all spent significantly more in 2021 than in previous years, but some of the biggest increases came from industries most affected by covid,” the Post’s Jonathan O'Connell and Anu Narayanswamy noted.
The top spenders on federal lobbying in 2021 were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($66.4 million) and the National Association of Realtors ($44 million).
As lawmakers considered measures to lower drug prices, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America spent $30.4 million, up 17% from the year before and enough to place third on the list.
Also making the top 10 were health insurance giant Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($25.1 million), the American Hospital Association ($25.1 million) and the American Medical Association ($19.5 million).
Two tech giants facing intense scrutiny from lawmakers made the top 10 as well. Meta, the parent of Facebook, and Amazon.com spent $20 million and $19.3 million, respectively.