In the U.S., lobbying is a common practice. Corporations and other significant organizations work to influence policymakers and regulations to improve their bottom line.
Corporations and other organizations often make political contributions. However, they also employ lobbyists to influence policymakers and regulators.
To determine the level of lobbying activity by industry, opensecrets.org used data from the Senate’s Public Records Office. The data used in this report came from 1998 to 2021.
Here’s a closer look at how much each industry spends on lobbying:
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $5,170,516,263
Over the past two decades, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry has outspent all other sectors when it comes to lobbying. In 2021, the industry’s lobbying expenditure hit a record $ 356.6 million, 30% higher than in 2009.
This includes lobbying for various companies, such as drugmakers and distributors of dietary supplements and medical products. The leading lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry spent over $30 million in 2021.
According to Open Secrets, the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying efforts are focused on opposing H.R. 3, which would allow the government to negotiate and cap the prices of drugs.
The organization also reported that the pharmaceutical industry is focused on fighting against legislation that would allow the government to negotiate and limit the prices of drugs by using an international index.
For the insurance industry, which includes property, auto, and health insurance companies, lobbying has been a prominent part of its operations. In 2021, the sector spent over $152 million lobbying.
During lobbying, health insurance companies often clashed with hospitals, drugmakers, and other healthcare providers over legislation. In 2021, the biggest spender was Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which spent $18.4 million.
In 2022, the health insurance industry opposed legislation that would have required them to provide better services when it came to addressing mental health and addiction issues.
Electric Utilities: $2,828,743,315
The electric utilities are regulated by state agencies and have a significant stake in federal climate and environmental legislation. As a result, lobbying has been a critical component of their operations. Issues related to cybersecurity, waste storage, and carbon emissions are also of concern.
The electric utilities sector spent over $112 million in 2021 on lobbying. The Edison Electric Institute, a lobbying organization for electric utilities, was the top spender, with a total of $2.8 million.
Oil and Gas: $2,562,503,870
For years, the oil and gas industry has supported members of fossil fuel-producing states who favor lower taxes and regulations. However, since 2021, the sector has argued that excessive regulation is to blame for the high energy prices. Koch Industries, closely held by the Koch family, was the top spender in 2021.