Swamped

More than 60 Percent of the Members of Washington's Lobbying Corps Have Plunged Into the 2017 Tax Debate

By Taylor Lincoln

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In early December 2017, we reported that 6,243 lobbyists had disclosed working on issues involving the word “tax” through the first three quarters of 2017. People on both the right and the left of the political spectrum were shocked and disconcerted by that number.

This abbreviated update to that report includes data from the fourth quarter of 2017, when comprehensive tax legislation was passed. Using federal lobbying disclosure data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org), we are able to calculate that a total of 7,088lobbyists worked on tax issues in 2017.

That figure equals more than 60 percent of the 11,444 lobbyists who reported working on any issue in 2017. It also works out to 13 lobbyists for every member of Congress. Put another way, it’s as if roughly the entire undergraduate enrollment of Georgetown University emptied out of school and poured onto Capitol Hill to influence elected officials and their staffs day in and day out.

It must be noted that most of the lobbyists who have sought to influence tax issues lobbied on other issues, as well. Meanwhile, some of the “tax” issues that lobbyists reported working upon may nothave been relevant to the comprehensive tax legislation that was approved in December. However, more than 4,600 lobbyists volunteered that they worked specifically on “tax reform,” which is directly on point to the comprehensive legislation. Other lobbyists worked on discrete issues that were part of the comprehensive legislation.