August 14th was the filing deadline for lobbying disclosures for the first six months of 2007. Our good friends at Open Secrets now have updated lists for the top lobbying firms, organizations, and contracts. And by "top" I mean in terms of money - there are many ways to define the "top" firms, etc. Using dollar amounts is simply the easiest, but not necessarily the best. Perhaps that is a post for another day.
The top spender so far in 2007 is, surprise surprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This massive group has been number one on the list of top spenders 8 out of the 10 years that this data has been collected, and has been near the top in all 10. The Chamber spent $21,160,000 in the first 6 months of 2007, with its largest contract going to Johnson, Madigan, Peck et al. The Chamber spent almost twice as much as the second organization on the list for 2007 (General Electric, 11,920,000). Rounding out the top five are the Pharmaceutical Researchers & Manufacturers of America, the American Medical Association and Amgen, Inc. (a biotech company that I had never previously heard of). It's not surprising, then, that the Chamber has maintained it's top position on the list of top spenders overall (from 1998-2007). These lists can be found here.
Total expenditures for the top lobbying firms in 2007 are close to those of the top groups/organizations. Patton Boggs is clearly the leader in this category, spending $17,330,000 so far in 2007. This power firm has held this top position for the last 4 years (previously Cassidy & Associates held the top spot, but both firms have always been on the list). Patton Boggs is also number one overall, expending $249,452,000 over the ten years profiled. However, PB does not have quite the lead over its colleagues as the Chamber does - the difference in expenditure amounts among the firms on this list is much smaller than the differences on the groups/organizations list. So far in 2007, Akin, Gump et al spent $15,120,000, putting them 2nd on the list. The top five for 2007 also contains Oglivy Government Relations (another firm I had never heard of), Cassidy & Associates and Barbour, Griffith & Rogers. The rest of the list can be found here.
The most potentially interesting data is that on the Top Contracts for 2007, but I will have to save my commentary on that for another day.