Price of Persuasion Down Year to Year

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The Google Inc. logo in Washington.

The price of persuasion went down in 2012, the second consecutive year of declining spending on lobbying, according to figures released today by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Total spending to try to influence Congress, the White House and federal agencies fell to $3.28 billion last year, compared with $3.33 billion in 2011 and $3.52 billion in 2010.

High-tech companies such as Google Inc., whose lobbying expenditures increased to $18.2 million from $9.7 million a year earlier; and Facebook Inc., which spent $4 million in 2012 compared with $1.4 million in 2011, went against the overall pattern.

“It’s a continued slide, but there are industries that are ramping up, like the tech industry, where some companies are opening up shops and some are expanding,” said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics.

General Electric Co. was the biggest corporate spender on lobbying, as it was in 2011 and 2010. It reported $21.1 million in lobbying expenses in 2012, down from $26.3 million the year before.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce again spent more than any other entity. The largest U.S. business lobby and its affiliate spent $135.5 million, up from $65.8 million a year earlier.

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