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February 6, 2003

Chamber 6-Month Lobbying Costs Top $28 Million

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 7, 2003 – The United States Chamber of Commerce reported significantly higher expenditures on federal lobbying during the second half of 2002, in reports filed this week. The U.S. Chamber reported $11.3 million spent on lobbying-related activities in the final six months of 2002 and the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) spent $17.3 million.

“The Chamber doubled its spending, but quadrupled its efforts, to elect pro-growth candidates in races for the U.S. House and Senate,” said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO. “American businesses are going all out for lower taxes, reining in trial lawyers, and opening markets around the world.”

U.S. Chamber and ILR lobbying expenses for the last half of 2001 – the previous reporting cycle – totaled just over $13 million. The increased expenses in 2002 reflect: greater reliance on in-state, grass roots activities; higher costs for issue advertising; a wider reach in congressional and state judicial races; as well as increases in salary costs.

During the last election cycle, the Chamber endorsed hundreds of candidates for office, held fundraisers, placed a million phone calls and sent 2 million pieces of mail. Through its member affiliates, the Chamber raised money; educated likely voters and put 50 people on the ground to set up phone banks and organize get-out-the-vote efforts. The ILR worked closely with local chambers and supporters of common-sense civil justice reform to educate the public on the importance of having state judges and attorneys general who enforce the rule of law with integrity and impartiality.

“Business and government must work together on the state and federal level to re-ignite the economy and set us on course for sustained growth,” said Donohue. “Economic growth generated by the private sector pays all the bills in our society.”

For the coming year, the Chamber has outlined key congressional and regulatory policy priorities, including: swift action on the administration’s job and economic growth package; renewed effort on a comprehensive, national energy plan; legal reform to rein in out-of-control class action lawyers; institute market-based solutions to health care coverage and delivery problems; and expand opportunities for international trade.

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