A non-profit based in Berkley, Calif., that focuses on the role of money in politics has gone public with a digital who's-who of lobbyists seeking to influence the federal government.
The name of Maplight's Federal Lobbying Database is simple and straightforward, but the information it provides can often cumbersome and difficult to obtain — the site makes the data easily accessible.
The new database brings together in one easily searchable and downloadable place on the Internet a treasure chest of information gleaned from quarterly registration reports federal lobbyists are required to file with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The purpose of the database is to provide taxpayers, journalists, academic researchers and others with "timely information on unions, companies, and organizations that are lobbying the federal government," according to Maplight.
"It includes information on how much money is being spent, which firms are being hired, which issues are being lobbied on, who is being lobbied, and more," the non-profit said.
The database includes corporations, organizations, lobbying firms and individual lobbyists.
The National Association of Realtors was second, spending $180 million since 2008, followed in third by the Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform with $169 million.
Others in the top 10 include, in order, General Electric, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, American Medical Association, ExxonMobile, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, American Hospital Association and AARP.Mark Tapscott is executive editor of the Washington Examiner.