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An article published this week by Jose Delgado in El Nuevo Dia, the top newspaper in Puerto Rico, revealed that that the islands are the top lobbyist among state governments in Washington, DC.  While at first this seems surprising, it is not.  Puerto Rico remains lodged in a 100+ year debate over the resolution of its current territorial status.  Whether it is statehooders or commonwealthers who are in power, both need to spend exorbitant amounts of money either to lobby for a change in status or to preserve the status quo, respectively.

The economic recession has forced a reduction in public expenditures, but Puerto Rico has been crowned this year as the "King of Lobbying" among governments that engage in lobbying in Washington, DC.

No other state or local government assigned more money to "registered lobbyists" before the US government than Puerto Rico during the first six months of 2009, according to an analysis by the group "OpenSecrets."

Between January and June 2009, Puerto Rico lobbyists -- including those working on behalf of the Governor and the Senate -- registered contracts that totaled more than $610,000.

These data do not include other consultants who work on public policy in Washington, DC, under the auspices of Puerto Rico's Republican Governor Luis Fortuño, and who believe they don't need to be officially registered as lobbyists.

Adding these consultants, the total -- as the Nuevo Dia reported a few weeks ago -- approaches $1 million in the first semester of 2009, a total that is likely to rise to $2 million for this fiscal year,

The only other state closest to Puerto Rico in "registered lobbyist" expenditures during the first six months of 2009 was the State of Pennsylvania at $540,000.

From January to June, state and local governments invested a total of $41.5 million in Washington lobbying, placing Puerto Rico at #12 overall, beneath corporations and labor unions.

In Puerto Rico's case, the annual lobbying budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year may be reduced from an average of $3.5 million to $2 million. During Democratic Governor Pedro Rosselló's term, the budget was higher than $5 million.

Washington, DC, lobbyists know that the Government of Puerto Rico will invest significant funds in both good times and bad times to establish relations with those in power in the White House and the US Congress.   “Accounts with the Government of Puerto Rico are always highly desired,” said Monroig, “for they tend to be large”.

Originally posted to YoSoyBoricua on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 11:39 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Given that their economy blows (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocGonzo, trashablanca
    and is over-reliant on government spending, that makes sense.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 12:16:41 PM PDT

  •  New World's Old World Third World (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, trashablanca

    I've been to Puerto Rico over a half dozen times in the past 30 years. I've driven around, spoken (in Spanish) to all kinds of people there. And I've known dozens of Puerto Ricans personally in NYC, whether as neighbors, from work, or as personal friends.

    I've been to about 40 of our states, lived in Louisiana and drove around the depths of Dixie, drove cross coast to coast three or four times. I've used up three or four passports traveling around the world.

    Puerto Rico is the most backwards place in the United States. And right there with some of the most abjectly failed and stagnant places in the world.

    Puerto Rico's prominence in the rolls of the DC lobbyist industry is a perfect match for its failure as a governed society.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 12:24:03 PM PDT

    •  Is it proper to say.... (0+ / 0-)

      Puerto Rico is in the United States? I am not trying to be snarky or argumentative. One would not say that Guam is an island in the United States. In the same way, Puerto Rico is not an Island in the United States.

      Oh Barry, they are turning Health Care into an Actuary's wet dream.

      by fredlonsdale on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:24:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes It Is (0+ / 0-)

        Puerto Rico is a territory in the United States of America. It is an island in the Caribbean.

        While Puerto Rico's being contained as a political entity by the country of the United States means by definition that it and its surrounding waters are an island inside the US, saying "PR is an island in the US" is awkward. Because "island in X" connotes that "X" is a body of water, as that is what islands are typically in, though the US is not a body of water.

        FWIW, this is all also true of Guam, which is also a territory in the United States' total territory.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:33:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't feel qualified to say... (0+ / 0-)

    whether I find this surprising or not. Should I? I don't know what non-lobby leverage that States have that Puerto Rico doesn't have. Is this comparing apple and ackee?

    Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. -Bertrand Russell

    by mswaine on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 01:43:52 PM PDT

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