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This was published on Progessive Blue in April '08 thought it may be relevant. Links available in the original.

That's what it is money, the money that is poured into our government. This isn't to say that any specific person is guilty of wrongdoing, but like I said long ago when you accept the premise and are unwilling to admit the problem there can be no cure. Like the alcoholic that denies any involvement there will never be the ability to move past the lure of the drink.

It's time to tell the truth. And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many. And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.

As I look across the political landscape of both parties today -- what I see are politicians too afraid to tell the truth -- good people caught in a bad system that overwhelms their good intentions and requires them to chase millions of dollars in campaign contributions in order to perpetuate their careers and continue their climb to higher office.

We all know who said that, and we know it was an honest assessment of the situation that has built that wall around Washington that keeps the interest of the people on the outside.

2007 was a boon for lobbyist in D.C., they have broken records for the monies spent to manipulate and direct the legislation of what was once the government "of the people". Now what we see is record lobbyist money involved, they have become the interests that are represented it seems.

The Center for Responsive Politics said spending in 2007 eclipsed the previous record in 2006 by $200 million, with health care interests, Wall Street, the real estate industry and insurers among the biggest spenders.

"Lobbying seems to be a recession-proof industry. In some respects, interests seek even more from our government when the economy slows," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the 25-year-old group that analyzes data on money in politics

There are still the same industries now that have dominated the for decades. Unfortunately these numbers, which are records, are just the natural progression that has taken place since the late nineties which makes this year "typical".

The numbers provide through opensecrets.org are even more telling when it comes to spending.

Expanding Washington's influence industry by 8 percent in 2007,  industries and interests spent $17 million for every day Congress was in session. The drug industry spent the most of all, paying lobbyists 25 percent more last year.

The number $17 million per day while in session seems unbelievable. How are "the people" suppose to compete with this astronomical figure? It onl;y gets worse when the numbers are broken down.

Looking more specifically within the larger sectors the Center tracks, the pharmaceuticals/health products industry outspent all industries by shelling out $227 million for lobbying services, or an average of $1.4 million for the 164 days that the 110th Congress met in 2007. The drug industry has spent $1.3 billion on federal lobbying over the last 10 years, more than any other industry. Its reported lobbying increased 25 percent in 2007

No wonder the drug benefits for average Americans are so high that many are choosing between food and medicine. You would almost think these were the bad numbers unless you read the next paragraph.

The second-biggest spender among industries in 2007 was insurance, which spent $138 million on lobbying, followed by electric utilities, which spent $112.7 million, the computers/Internet industry, which spent $110.6 million, and hospitals and nursing homes, which paid lobbyists at least $90.5 million. The securities and investment industry, which ranked sixth, spent $87.3 million, increasing its lobbying 40 percent over 2006.

The table is set, silverware laid out and seats chosen. The menu consists of your and my pocketbook. Am I naive or are they not negotiating at those "stand-up luncheons" for what is best for "the people"? I won't go any farther because at this point I believe you get the picture. The rest of the list includes the Chamber of Commerce those bastions of free trade, GE more healthcare industries, the Blackstone Group, Cereberus Management Group, Bristol-Meyer Squibb and Roche. This is only a partial list until this quarter these are the numbers provided by the Senate Office of Public Record. Just for fun I'll provide some top lobbying firms.

Lobbying firm             Total

          Patton Boggs LLP          $41,900,000

          Akin, Gump et al          $31,720,000

          Van Scoyoc Assoc          $25,150,000

          Cassidy & Assoc           $24,310,000

          Barbour, Griffith & Rogers $22,460,000

          Ogilvy Government Relations $22,200,000

          Dutko Worldwide             $22,192,500

          Hogan & Hartson             $18,650,000

          Quinn, Gillespie & Assoc    $17,980,000

          PMA Group                   $16,370,132

          Williams & Jensen           $16,120,000

          Holland & Knight            $15,870,000

          Ernst & Young               $13,969,480

          Preston, Gates et al        $13,780,000

          Brownstein, Hyatt et al     $12,980,000

          Carmen Group                $12,740,000

          DLA Piper                   $12,600,000

          Covington & Burling         $12,489,512

          Podesta Group               $11,060,000

          Ferguson Group              $10,981,000

deja vu all over again

Originally posted to LaEscapee on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:19 PM PST.

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