$17 million a day spent lobbying Congress – Happy Tax Day

That’s right – a cool $17 million a day.  Health interests topped the list of big spenders by interest group – insurance came in second, according to a story in today’s Insurance Journal.

Corporations, industries, labor unions, governments and other interests spent a record $2.79 billion in 2007 to lobby in Washington, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has calculated.

This represents an increase of 7.7 percent, or $200 million, over spending in 2006. For every day Congress was in session, industries and interests spent an average of $17 million to lobby lawmakers and the federal government at large.

“At a time when our economy is contracting, Washington’s lobbying industry has been expanding,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the 25-year-old watchdog group. “Lobbying seems to be a recession-proof industry.”

CRP, which tracks lobbying spending on its Web site, OpenSecrets.org, found that, for the second straight year, health interests spent more on federal lobbying than any other economic sector—$444.7 million. The finance, insurance and real estate sector was second, spending about $418.7 million.

…and the biggest spender wasdrumroll...

The biggest spender in 2007 was again the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Although the business booster’s reported lobbying decreased about 27 percent last year, following a record year in 2006, the Chamber and its affiliates still managed to spend nearly $52.8 million on in-house lobbyists and with K Street firms.

Something to think about as you write your check today.  Have a good one, Sop.