The stalled economy and legislative gridlock in Congress combined to take their toll on the lobbying industry in 2011. The Center for Responsive Politics says in a new study that overall lobbying expenditures dropped last year for the first time in more than a decade.
More than $3.27 billion was spent on lobbying in 2011, according to the center’s analysis of lobbying reports filed with Congress last week. (An estimated 90 percent of those reports due had been filed by the deadline Friday, so that figure could rise slightly as the remaining reports are processed.) In 2010, when overhauls of health care and the financial industry consumed Capitol Hill, outlays for lobbying totaled $3.51 billion.
The center identified a few areas and companies that bolstered lobbying efforts. They included the technology sector — Google posted a record $11.4 million, including $4.2 million during the fourth quarter — and the entertainment, banking and mining industries, as well as public sector unions and advocates of reproductive rights.