Energy and Health Care Industries Lobby Hard in Advance of Next Administration

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The two areas where we can expect the next administration to usher in massive shifts in domestic policy are health care and climate change. This would definitely be true under an Obama Administration, and could well be true under a McCain one as well. The health care and energy industries aren’t stupid; anticipating upcoming movement on their respective issues, they’ve put their lobbying efforts in hyperdrive to try and direct that movement.

CQ Politics charts the number of lobbying registrations filed in the first quarter of 2008 for each sector, and they come up with this:

Energy: 278 registered lobbyists
Transportation: 85
Manufacturing: 79
Non-profits: 67
State or local gov’t: 43
Agriculture: 28
Business and retail: 27
Real estate and construction: 25
Finance: 20
Organized labor: 16

Energy’s new dominance knocks health care out of the top dog position. The pharmaceutical industry had a banner 2007, writes the Center for Public Integrity, putting together a record $168 million lobbying effort, according to a CPI analysis of federal lobbying data. Adds CPI, “the effort raised the amount spent by drug interests on federal lobbying in the past decade to more than $1 billion.”

Top spenders within the sector in 2007:

Pharmacuetical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA): $23 million
Amgen Inc.: $16.2 million
Pfizer: $13.8 million
Roche Holding AG: $9 million
Sanofi-Aventis: $8.4 million
GlaxoSmithKline: $8.2 million
Johnson & Johnson Inc.: $7.7 million

It’s worth pointing out, however, that industry’s interests can sometimes align with society’s interests. One of Big Pharma’s lobbying priorities this past year was SCHIP, which would have made health care available to more children from low and middle income families but would have also meant more kids on meds, something that geeks Big Pharma out. On the other hand, sometimes industry’s influence is toxic. Another 2007 lobbying goal: keeping cheaper medications from foreign countries out of America, which has driven some people to disgraceful lengths to get their pills.

All of this money is part of the inertia in Washington. The energy and health care industries will be receptive to change that puts more money in their pockets, but anything that denies them profits, or make earning profits more difficult, will be met by a bulwark of resistance paid for by these tens of millions. Every relevant lawmaker and staffer will have been visited by an industry lobbyist, or been hosted at an industry event: industry’s interests will be well-known. A President Obama or a President McCain can talk about limiting the power of special interests on the campaign trail, but by the time they take the White House the special interests will have been lying in wait for years.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate