Lobbying has become part and parcel of modern-day politics across the world. It’s no surprise to anyone that major industries and their main representatives actively endeavor to influence legislation in order to enjoy preferential treatment. This can be achieved by either actual lobbying or campaign contributions. Here are the top three lobbyists in the United States.
Number 3: Utilities
The electric and electronic utilities industry monitors regulatory and legislative action taken on a number of fronts, including waste storage, clean air regulation, cyber-security and infrastructure. The biggest lobbyist in the sector was the Southern Company at the end of 2018. This industry “invested” $2,353,570,360 in lobbying over the past two decades.
Number 2: Insurance
Insurance comes in second with $2,704,636,807 spent on lobbyist initiatives between 1998 and 2018. This includes money spent by agents, brokers, health, property, and car insurance companies. Spending was $160.5 million in 2017 alone. Health insurance providers have been very active in the legislative process after the ACA was passed and in the wake of subsequent decisions made under the Trump Administration. The biggest insurance industry lobbyist corporation was Blue Cross Blue Shield last year.
Number 1: Pharmaceuticals and Health Products
This industry is the top spender with $3.9 billion over the past two decades. This industry includes dietary supplement sellers, drug manufacturers, and sellers of medical products. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Pfizer spent the most on lobbying in 2018.
Overall, the health industry is mainly involved in “achieving a quicker approval process for drugs and products entering the market, resisting government-run health care, and strengthening intellectual property protections” (Investopedia). More recently, corporations have concentrated their efforts on Medicare, the patent system, and research funding.
The above data on the top three lobbyist industries – utilities, insurance, and health – is based on information published at opensecrets.org and pertaining to the period between 1998 and 2018.