Chamber ramps up lobbying spending

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce continued to ramp up its spending over the summer, pumping $31.65 million into efforts to influence Congress and the Obama administration during the third quarter of 2012.

That is the most the nation's largest business lobby has spent in any period this year, with $29 million spent in the second quarter and $26 million in the first. 

The Chamber's lobbying figures were released on forms required under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). All organizations that lobby Congress must disclose their activities on LDA forms by midnight Tuesday.

The Chamber, which is led by Tom Donohue, has already dwarfed its 2011 expenditures on advocacy and voter education, which totaled $65.8 million. Three quarters into 2012, the business group has spent more than $86 million pressing its interests in Washington.

The business lobby still has a ways to go, however, to meet the frenzied lobbying efforts of 2010, the year that Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the healthcare reform law. That year, the Chamber spent a total of $131.5 million on lobbying. 

The latest disclosures show the Chamber casting a wide net in making its case on a range of issues to basically every major player in the federal government. The documents show the Chamber is a regular presence in the halls of the House and Senate on issues including agriculture, banking, copyright, healthcare and trade. 

The Chamber also conveyed its influence on the nation's regulators. The disclosure indicates the Chamber sent dozens of lobbyists to discuss issues with federal agencies. 

Chamber officials were a regular presence on Capitol Hill and with regulators as it helped push the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a law enacted in April aimed at helping small businesses raise capital.