Center for Public Integrity Tracks the Climate Change Lobby


The Center for Public Integrity has done hard labor separating the wheat from the chafe, and launched a project tracking the climate change lobby, complete with a searchable database of drawn from lobbyist disclosure forms. Given the poor state of federal lobbyist disclosure, it’s difficult to track lobbying campaigns following a single issue (I can speak from personal experience — I’m trying to compile a simple one here tracking lobbying on the bailout and stimulus), so take advantage of CPI’s efforts by checking out its data and report:

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change in the past year, as the issue gathered momentum and came to a vote on Capitol Hill. That’s an increase of more than 300 percent in the number of lobbyists on climate change in just five years, and means that Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress. It also means that 15 percent of all Washington lobbyists spent at least some of their time on global warming in 2008, based on a tally of the total number of influence-peddlers on Capitol Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Based on the data, the Center estimates that lobbying expenditures on climate change last year topped $90 million. About 130 businesses and interest groups spent more than $23.5 million on lobbying teams solely focused on climate, but that vastly understates the money devoted to the effort. More than 95 percent of climate lobbyists work on other issues such as tax and health care for their clients as well, and they don’t have to report how much they’re being paid on global warming specifically. But even if just 10 percent of their time last year was spent on climate, that would add nearly $70 million to the grand total spent lobbying on climate in 2008 and push expenditures past $90 million.

Well worth checking out. (Full disclosure: I worked for CPI from 1997 to 2005).