From October 1, 2008 through the end of the year, eighteen companies that had received, or would receive, bailout funds spent money lobbying the government. As the bailout is set to move onto round two, there have been concerns that recipients of funds are improperly lobbying the government after receiving the funds. In the past week there has been an effort by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to restrict lobbying of his department by bailout recipients and a bill introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Olympia Snowe to ban the use of bailout funds for political influence. Some good government groups are objecting to bailout recipient Bank of America’s involvement in organizing opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.
In total, the eighteen bailout recipients that continued to spend money on lobbying spent $14,810,259 over the three month period of October to December. Of course, many of these companies were lobbying on a variety of issues and did not necessarily spend the full amount listed on their disclosure to lobby on the bailout. All but two of the bailout contracts received by these companies came during the period of which this lobbying spending is the subject. Lobbying on the bailout was determined by whether the lobbyist disclosure forms listed one of the following in the Issue Area provided on the form: H.R. 1424, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, TARP, and Troubled Asset Relief Program. One bailout recipient that continued to list lobbying expenses, American Internation Group (AIG), has publicly stated that they are no longer lobbying government. The report AIG filed indicates that the expenses were for:
In response to requests and to correct misinformation, AIG provided information about AIG to federal officials in connection with government efforts to address instability and liquidity in the financial markets and congressional oversight of federal programs including the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Topping the list is the General Motors Corporation with lobbying expenses totalling $3,550,000. The financial arm of the General Motors family, GMAC, a bailout recipient, also spent $,1540,000 on lobbying expenses. Both of these bailout recipients obtained funds at the end of the lobbying disclosure quarter, after Congress rejected a bill granting non-TARP funds for them, suggesting that the majority of the lobbying was done in pursuit of the funds themselves. Four more companies also obtained their bailout funds in the waning days of the year (the end of the disclosure quarter) or in the new year. Those companies are American Express, Chrysler, CIT Group, and PNC Financial Services Group.
Below is the full table of bailout recipients, their lobbying expenses for the 4th quarter, and the first date upon which they were issued bailout funds.
|Bailout Recipient||Lobbying Expenses (Oct.-Dec. 2008)||First receipt of bailout funds|
|American Express Company||$1,080,000||1/9/09|
|American International Group||$1,080,000||10/28/08|
|Bank of America||$880,000||10/28/08|
|CIT Group, Inc.||$80,000||12/31/08|
|General Motors Corporation||$3,550,000||12/29/08|
|Goldman Sachs & Co.||$720,000||10/28/08|
|Huntington Bancshares, Inc.||$43,670||11/14/08|
|J.P. Morgan Chase Bank||$1,100,000||10/28/08|
|PNC Financial Services Group||$10,000||12/31/08|
|State Street Corporation||$210,000||10/28/08|
|The Bank of New York Mellon||$330,000||10/28/08|
|Wells Fargo & Co.||$580,000||10/28/08|