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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 145. (FRIDAY EDITION) | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 146. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 491 - Influence Peddling.

Proximity & Power-

In recent years, especially right before the '06 elections, we have heard a lot of talk about the terrible influences of lobbyists.

"Lobbyist" has taken on a particularly negative connotation in modern times. It seems, however, that lobbyists are almost exclusively associated in our establishment media and popular culture with big oil companies or tobacco companies or gun companies. Stuff like that.

Those are causes often associated, correctly or not, with the right. But what about the left-leaning lobby groups? You know, the big ones. The ones that actually matter.

One way to measure influence is to measure proximity to capitol buildings:

Of the 25 most influential interest groups, the teachers’ union is the closest in 14 of the 50 states. By comparison, the AFL-CIO is the closest in seven states. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Federation of Independent Business are the closest in five states, each. The American Association for Justice (AAJ)—the leading organization of U.S. trial lawyers, formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, or ATLA—is the closest in four states.

The teachers’ union is among the four closest interest groups in 27 states. Meanwhile, the AAJ is among the four closest in 22 states, the AARP in 20 states, and the AFL-CIO in 19 states.

So, Trial Lawyers, Teachers' Unions, and other labor unions dominate the proximity battles.

They also tend to dominate the overall dollar battles (from 1989 to 2008):


Six of the next ten are strong Democrat-leaning, three are weak Republican-leaning, and one is roughly fifty-fifty. Republicans controlled Congress and the White House for more of this period, 1989 to 2008, than Democrats, and, if the "Friendly Incumbent" rule (which says that interest group money tends to flow to incumbents) has any relevance, it is remarkable that Republicans didn't receive more from some of these groups. Clearly, Democrats are far more the party of special interests than Republicans, which makes the "GOP=special interests" narrative of the past two or three years so mindboggling.

Looking at the '08 cycle, eight of the top ten lobbying groups gave overwhelming to Democrats, with one on the fence and one giving to Republicans.

When Democrats talk about special interests, they usually mean Republican special interests-- interests that organize in order to be left alone. The true malignant special interests are the Democrat special interests-- those that organize in order to take from and impose upon others.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Normal Tax Rates.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 May 2008 04:07 PM


That's a hell of a graph. Is there a sum up table - total dollar amounts contributed?

Posted by: JohnW at May 27, 2008 06:01 PM

Wow! Look at all of those donkeys!

Posted by: ZsaZsa at May 27, 2008 07:39 PM