Chamber of Commerce racks up $135 million lobbying tab for 2012

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $135 million on lobbying in 2012, more than doubling its influence spending from the prior year.

The powerful business lobby spent $29.5 million on lobbying for 2012’s fourth quarter, according to lobbying disclosure records. The group’s legal affiliate, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, spent $10.9 million on lobbying during the same quarter.

For all of last year, the Chamber spent $103.9 million on lobbying. Coupled with the institute, which spent $31.6 million for all of 2012, the group’s total lobbying bill for 2012 was more than $135 million.

The 2012 figure is more than double the $65 million that Chamber and the Institute for Legal Reform spent on lobbying in 2011, according to records.

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The huge increase reflects the Chamber’s flurry of activity during the 2012 election season. A Chamber spokeswoman said the group included all of its spending on campaign ads in the lobbying totals.

The Chamber’s 59-page disclosure report for the final quarter of 2012 gives a glimpse of the group’s wide-ranging influence in Washington. Lobbyists for the group worked on everything from the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution rules for industrial boilers to financial reform implementation to online gaming and the Law of the Sea Treaty.