"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.


Lobbyists Double Spending in Six Years

Lobbying in Washington has quietly grown over the past years into a multi-billion dollar industry, according to a new report by the Center for Public Integrity. Since 1998, lobbyists have spent nearly $13 billion to influence members of Congress and federal officials on legislation and regulations. According to federal records, lobbying expenditures are expected to be at least $3 billion for 2004, doubling 1998 expenditures. The U.S.


The Fix Behind Fixing Social Security

In late February, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, National Economics Council director Al Hubbard, and Barry Jackson, a special assistant to the president who is handling Social Security reform, met with administration-friendly lobbyists for a "rah-rah" cheerleading session on Social Security privatization. According to The Hill, representatives from the conservative 60 Plus Association, the business funded Coalition for the Modernization and Protection of America's Social Security(COMPASS), America’s Community Bankers, the National Retail Federation, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Business Roundtable heard the trio reiterate George W. Bush's commitment to "reform" Social Security. "Karl Rove talked about its importance to the president's agenda, and Al Hubbard talked about its importance to the economy," a spokesperson from the Roundtable told Bloomberg News.

A Swift Kick in the Family Retirement Plan

The industry-funded lobbying group USANext "says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing [Social Security] private investment accounts." To oversee the campaign, USANext hired Chris LaCivita, recently of the


Feeling Noncommittal

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is "wondering just what the nation's nuclear power companies are up to these days." While "taking steps toward building new reactors," the companies are "each emphasizing they have 'made no commitment' at all to actually building new nuclear plants." According to the paper, "The industrywide use of the 'no commitment' mantra is no accident.



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