Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Earmarks and Lobbying: 28 to 1 Payoff

This BusinessWeek investigation uncovers a 28 to 1 payoff for lobbying on earmarks. This is legalized bribery. There is simply no other name for it. The US Congress is organized and its criminal and they wonder why Americans have such a low opinion of them?


To do that, BusinessWeek teamed up with Columbia Books, a Washington publisher of lobbying and trade association directories and operator of a lobbying data Web site. Together we examined the nearly 2,000 earmarks that went to companies in fiscal 2005, the only year for which the government has released complete data. We then compared the earmark funding each company received with the amount it spent on lobbying the prior year.

The results suggest a startling conclusion: On average, companies generated roughly $28 in earmark revenue for every dollar they spent lobbying. And those at the very top did far better than the average: More than 20 companies pulled in $100 or more for every dollar spent. By any standard, that's a hefty ratio: The companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index brought in just $17.52 in revenues for every dollar of capital expenditure in 2006. Or look at the results in direct marketing, where an extremely successful campaign might bring in $5 in revenue for every dollar spent. "If mainstream American businesses got a 28-to-1 ratio in sales, they'd be ecstatic," says Steve Zammarchi, president and CEO of Wunderman New York, a sales and marketing firm.