Lobbying in Texas

Texans For Public Justice recetnly released their biennial report on lobbying in Texas: Austin’s Oldest Profession. As usual, TPJ has made a copy of their full report available online so you can read over the details of their latest analysis.

TPJ compiles data collected by the Texas Ethics Commission. Because TEC reporting requirements generally don’t require firms to report the exact amount of lobbying contracts (instead they report a general range) TPJ’s data is  imprecise. However, they remain one of the few sources on lobbying data in the state.

According to TPJ organized interests have doubled their lobbying expenditures in Texas over the last 10 years. Despite the heroic spending efforts of these organized interests Texas fell from 2nd place to 4th place in 2006. However, Texans can take heart since the Legislature was not in session in 2006 and we can expect to climb in the rankings as soon as 2007 results are in from across the nation.

One interesting exercise is looking over who is spending what in Texas. Overall, “energy and natural resources” interests accounted for about 17% of the up to $348 million spent on lobbying in Texas in 2007. The report details the companies and groups that have spent a million dollars or more. The 31 “Million Dollar Clients” cited in the report are dominated by the communications industry and energy interests as well as legal/lobbying firms. AT&T leads the pack with as much as $10 million spent.  Some Texans might be surprised to see the cities of Austin and Houston in the million dollar club.

The thirty-page report is loaded with facts and figures and students and faculty are likely to find their political heros and villians represented.

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