All over the world lobbyists are a "hidden" scourge behind so much of what determines what Governments decide to do. That lobbyists, in large numbers, stalk the halls of Washington DC's corridors of power is nothing new. It's just the extent of what money lobbyists dish out that isn't readily known - until now!
Yahoo New reports in "THE INFLUENCE GAME: Firms reap seeds of lobbying":
"Big companies that spent hundreds of millions lobbying successfully for a tax break enacted in 2004 got a 22,000-percent return on that investment — proof that for those who can afford it, hiring a lobbyist can pay handsome dividends.
The figures, compiled by professors at the University of Kansas for a study to be released Thursday, offer a rarely seen glimpse of how the lobbying business works, and why — even as President Barack Obama vows to curb lobbyists' influence — the industry is booming as never before.
The report details efforts by hundreds of companies in 2003 and 2004 to push through a one-time tax "holiday" that lowered for a year the tax rate they paid on profits earned abroad. All told, U.S. companies saved about $100 billion in taxes, with pharmaceutical behemoths Pfizer and Merck & Co., technology giants IBM and Hewlett Packard, and health products maker Johnson & Johnson among the top beneficiaries.
The study zeros in on 93 firms that spent as much as $282.7 million lobbying on the issue during that period, and ultimately saved a total of $62.5 billion through the tax change. Researchers used publicly available lobbying disclosures filed with Congress and financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission to compare the amount each company saved with its lobbying expenditures."