"A fast-growing trend in the business of influencing government is corporate-funded trips," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Because the trips are paid for by corporations and trade associations - and not the hired guns who lobby for them - such trips are permitted under House and Senate rules," unless the sponsors are registered lobbyists or foreign agents. The number of junkets increased from 1,400 in 2000 to 1,900 in 2004; their cost increased 50% over the same period, to $3 million in 2004. Already this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "has flown more than a dozen House and Senate aides to the Dominican Republic to learn about trade." The American Association of Airport Executives, Consumer Electronics Association, National Association of Broadcasters, and Advanced Medical Technology Association have also funded trips, as have groups within the finance, telecommunications, agriculture, and energy industries, with "members of both parties ... taking advantage."