Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business News

Shadow lobbying spends three times more than traditional lobbying

(Business) Alternative forms of influencing policy is called shadow lobbying, and it is legitimate, but it is important for professionals to better understand how the money flows.



What is shadow lobbying?

According to The Nation, $3.2 billion was spent on lobbying in 2013, all on the books and accounted for, but there is a lot more money floating around that is spent to influence, dubbed “shadow lobbying.” It’s not shady, it’s just a fact that not all money sent to lobbyists is done through registered lobbyists.

In fact, in 2013 alone, an estimated $9 billion was spent on unregistered lobbying through trade associations, advocacy groups and more. This isn’t new, but it is becoming par for the course.

The Nation says that companies hire public relations firms to influence policy, citing organizations like Grover Park Group which received $2.9 million in 2013 for advocacy on behalf of the natural gas lobby. Again, not shady, but a large chunk of change spent to influence policy but not necessarily through traditional lobbying.

They also state that companies frequently press their agendas through in-house public affairs departments like Deborah Lee James who earned $1 million at a major defense contractor before being named Air Force Secretary in 2013. Some argue this is pushing an agenda, others argue that people like James worked their tails off and earned their place in their appointed positions.

Money also pours into the policy process through law firms, who lobby for changes in federal policy on behalf of their clients.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Nation points to a heavy flow of dough flowing through astroturf and policy advocacy groups that pose as independent but typically have a left or right leaning agenda. Additionally, trade groups represent their members and lobby for those members’ interests, for example, the Biotechnology Industry Organization represents seed giant, Monsanto and has spent millions to defeat GMO-labeling legislation nationwide, whose CEO is former representative James C. Greenwood.

They cite Bonner & Associates who has clients like the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity who paid $43,000 to build grassroots opposition to the American CLean Energy and Security Act; it was later revealed that they forged constituent letters to members of Congress. They note that ACCCE spent $28 million on lobbying in 2013, but only $2.2 million was reported as such.

Why this matters to CEOs and entry-level staffers alike

Right now, there is a tremendous amount of political uncertainty, and policies are being argued by politicians that impact your bottom line, your freedoms, your choices, and even how much you make. We should all be aware that there is endless cash flowing through the system, as alternative forms of legitimate lobbying have become a common part of our political system, whether we like it or not, and being informed makes one a better voter, no matter the party preference.

Click to enlarge:

Top photo: Congressman Tom Perriello with lobbyist Heather Podesta at an inauguration party for Barack Obama.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.




(POLITICS) CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon set to testify in House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation hearing today.


(POLITICS) Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States and individuals need to be aware of reapplying for additional benefits.


(POLITICS) The resurgence of COVID-19 has left Americans with a lot of questions about our nation’s economic future. That ambiguity is seemingly a feature,...


(POLITICS) Thousands of unemployed workers were overpaid in unemployment benefits by the State. Now Texas is asking them to return it all back.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.