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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Government growth making lobbying obsolete as CEOs directly craft policies

Could bailouts actually reduce federal lobbying. My Examiner column explores the changing landscape.

In this brave new world in which government is buying stakes in banks, nationalizing some companies, bailing out others and proposing what must be the largest spending bill in the history of the planet, government and business have become partners. With a government like this, who needs lobbyists?

Goldman Sachs, for instance, cut its lobbying expenditures in half in last year’s fourth quarter — at the very moment that Congress and the administration were drawing on $700 billion in bailout money and talking about buying banks. But whatever influence was sacrificed by cutting its lobbying budget from $1 million in the third quarter to $500,000 in the fourth was made up for when Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein sat in on a top-level meeting with Bush’s Treasury Department on crafting the details of the bailout.

Read the whole thing here.

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