The trend follows an unprecedented $1.1 billion in lobbying spending during the first quarter of 2022, which swelled to a whopping $2 billion spent through the second quarter.
Organizations are only about $743.6 million away from the record $3.8 billion spent on federal lobbying in 2021. There has not been a quarter since 2008 that federal lobbyists have received less than $743.6 million, all but assuring 2022 will be a record year for federal lobbyists when fourth quarter disclosures are filed on Jan. 20.
Over 13,400 organizations deployed more than 11,900 federal lobbyists during the first nine months of 2022. The 10 clients that spent the most money on federal lobbying during that period accounted for 8% of all federal lobbying spending.
No client has spent more money on federal lobbying this year than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a conservative association of over 3 million businesses that shelled out $60 million on federal lobbying through Sept. 30. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also contributed more than $3.4 million to mostly conservative super PACs and candidates during the 2022 midterm election, including a $3 million contribution to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.).
The National Association of Realtors spent more money than any other client during the third quarter, increasing federal lobbying spending by 97% from the second quarter. The real estate industry trade association spent $29.3 million on federal lobbying from July through September, more money than it has ever spent in a single quarter.
The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, Meta, Amazon, the Business Roundtable and the American Chemistry Council all remained in the top 10 clients from the second to third quarter.
The federal budget remains the most lobbied issue with 3,400 clients deploying lobbyists to sway lawmakers on spending from July through September. Lobbyists also continued to focus their efforts on health, tax, defense and transportation issues.
A slew of appropriations bills came out of the respective U.S. House and Senate committees, including the $1.7 trillion package comprised of 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2023 that Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) released at the end of July.
The House Appropriations Committee also released six federal funding packages in July. One of those packages – the 2023 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act – was the fourth most-cited bill in third-quarter lobbying filings.
Federal lobbying spending down slightly from the second quarter
Overall, federal lobbying decreased slightly from the second to third quarter – down from just under $1 billion to $977.8 million.
The labor sector, which reduced its lobbying spending by 9% from the first to second quarter, reduced its spending by another 20% from the second to the third quarter. The construction sector spent 15% less on lobbying during the third quarter, and the defense industry also reduced federal lobbying spending by 9%.
The finance, insurance and real estate sector saw the biggest increase in lobbying spending during the third quarter, up 12% – or $16.3 million – from the second quarter.
Private equity firms and hedge funds are part of the securities and investments industry, which fall into the finance, insurance and real estate sector. Lobbyists for these firms barraged Sen. Kyrsten Sinema(D–Ariz.)’s office with calls the day before the Senate voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act – the most lobbied piece of legislation in the third quarter – to express displeasure with the bill’s carried interest tax loophole provision, which Sinema succeeded in removing before the final vote.
The securities and investments industry spent $100.6 million on federal lobbying through the third quarter, the fourth most money of any industry. The top 10 industries spent over $1.2 billion of the $3 billion federal lobbyists have received this year. That’s 40% of all federal lobbying spending through Sept. 30.
Three former lawmakers swing through the revolving door
Three former members of Congress registered as lobbyists during the second quarter of 2022.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce selected former Rep. Evan Jenkins (R–W.V.) to lead their lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Jenkins was elected to the U.S. House in 2014 and reelected in 2016, but lost his 2018 GOP primary bid to unseat Sen. Joe Manchin (R–W.V.). West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) then appointed Jenkins chief justice of the state Supreme Court, POLITICO reported, a position he left in February to practice law.
Former Rep. John Fleming (R–La.), who joined the McKeon Group in April 2021, registered to represent his first and only client during the third quarter of 2022 – the Bossier Parish Police Jury in his home state of Louisiana. First elected to the U.S. House in 2008, Fleming was reelected in 2010, 2012 and 2014 before running for U.S. Senate in 2016. He lost the GOP primary to Sen. John Kennedy (R–La.) and went on to serve in the Trump administration.
Former Rep. Collin Peterson (D–Minn.) started his own lobbying firm, the Peterson Group, at the end of June. The former House Agriculture Chair was retained by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the Kansas Livestock Association during the second quarter. The Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef and Kansas Livestock Association also retained Peterson during the third quarter, as did nZero and Sedron Technologies.
Senior Researcher Dan Auble contributed to this report.