First Organization to Spend a Billion Dollars on Lobbying: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, July 25, 2013
Tom Donohue

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become the first member of the billion-dollar lobbying club.


The Chamber, which represents hundreds of thousands of businesses, has spent just over $1 billion on lobbying since 1998, when the Center for Responsive Politics began tracking lobbying data.


As of the second quarter of 2013, the Chamber has allocated $1,002,845,680 on lobbying over the past 15 years.


No other lobbying force in Washington, DC, has spent a billion dollars to influence decision-making, or come even close to that amount. General Electric, the next highest spender, has spent only $294 million over the same period.


The Chamber has become a powerful force in Washington under the leadership of Tom Donohue, its president and CEO since 1997. During his tenure, the organization went from spending $17 million a year on lobbying to $157 million (its highest yearly total, recorded in 2010).


The Chamber employs both in-house lobbyists (88) and contracts with various firms. In 2012, it paid money to 183 outside lobbyists from 33 different firms.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Billion Dollar Baby: U.S. Chamber is First to Hit Lobbying Milestone (by David Steinbach, Center for Responsive Politics)

Influence and Lobbying: U.S. Chamber of Commerce (

Lobbying Report: Chamber of Commerce of the USA (Clerk of the House of Representatives)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Failed Attempt to Influence Elections: 8 Wins; 51 Losses (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

Is the Roberts Supreme Court in the Pocket of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)         

Insurance Industry Gave $86 Million to Chamber of Commerce to Oppose Health Care Bill (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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