Many Washington lobbyists will be getting refund checks in coming weeks, because Sen. Orrin Hatch has called off his 2018 re-election bid. Hatch, you see, was the leading recipient of lobbyist cash for 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Last time Hatch got beat by some Democrats on this score, but still he was the top Senate Republican in lobbyist cash in 2012 also.
This isn't surprising. Hatch was a fairly conservative senator, but he was always close to K Street and big business, and the lobbyists' pleadings often, though not always, defeated his conservatism.
Hatch famously antagonized Microsoft for worrying too much about its own products and business and too little about lobbying and funding political campaigns.
"If you want to get involved in business," Sen. Orrin Hatch warned technology companies at a conference in 2000, "you should get involved in politics." This was after Hatch led a Senate investigation that beat up Microsoft for supposed antitrust violations. Microsoft subsequently ramped up their lobbying and formed a political action committee, which gave Hatch the maximum in his past two re-elections.
One Utah green energy firm, Raser Technologies, named its geothermal facility the "Hatch Plant," to honor how much government help Hatch had provided the company. Hatch sponsored and passed into law two different tax credits. Then he started sending millions in earmarks towards Raser Tech.
Hatch also supported the indefensible sugar subsidy.
There were plenty of times Hatch fought the good fight against corporatism, though. He voted against the Export-Import Bank in 2015. He voted to kill the ethanol subsidy in 2011. He also joined Jeb Hensarling to end government support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.