Lobby groups spent more than $3.2 billion trying to sway federal lawmakers and officials last year. Yet like Washington’s solitary UFO lobbyist and fake-meat lobbyist, some would-be influencers are pushing some pretty specific, even obscure, agendas. Here are six of America’s most specialized influence groups:
The Balloon Council: “To educate consumers and regulators about the wonders of foil and latex balloons,” it spent $80,000 on lobbying in 2014—not adjusted for inflation, of course.
Families Conserving Antiques: Three families who own collections of elephant ivory formed this organization in 2014 to lobby against federal bans on the tusk trade.
US Association of Reptile Keepers: This group of “herp” lovers fighting prohibitions on certain types of pythons has been lying quietly lately—like a snake waiting to strike.
Dollar Coin Alliance: Switching from greenbacks to coins will save America billions of bucks, according to this group backed by vending-machine and copper-mining companies.
Victoria McCullough: This oil heiress and equine philanthropist has spent $135,000 spurring lawmakers to keep American horses off foreign dinner plates.
California Dried Plum Board: Don’t you mean “prune”? Yes—but in 2000, the then-California Prune Board successfully lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to let it use the more female-friendly (really, that’s what it said) “dried plum.”