AUBURN, AL- As we look at influence reform around the country- returning power and influence back to the voter- Take Back Our Republic is conducting a study of lobbyists at the state level.
To begin, Take Back Our Republic does acknowledge the importance of lobbying. A pluralist society with varied interests was seen by James Madison and other Founders as integral to our society. At times, we as an organization have employed a lobbyist, and we also concede that a growth in the number of lobbyists does not necessarily mean something negative.
However, lobbying growth in numbers and influence often results in more power shifting toward those who can afford to pay for them and, consequently, away from ordinary Americans who cannot.
Take Back Our Republic has studied initial research provided by our friends at the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a great organization that looks at many of the issues we educate on. Our first analysis in this article is a brief snapshot of the numbers involving the growth of lobbying at the state level from the years 2006 to 2015.
Politically, these years span a decline in favorability of the Republican Party, the sweeping elections of the Democrats in 2006, Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008, the rise of the Tea Party, and Republicans taking the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.
It’s also a period that saw a financial collapse followed by slower-than-expected growth. The federal budget deficit was $287 billion in 2006, reached a valley in 2007 of $161 billion, a peak of $1.413 trillion in 2009, and was at $438 billion in 2015- an increase of $151 billion from a decade earlier.
Over the course of the decade, federal spending increased by more than $1 trillion annually and by roughly 1.3% of GDP. The national debt rose by more than $10 trillion during this period.
Despite this growth of the federal government, registered federal lobbyists fell.
The states, however, tell a different story, and we will be looking at that in the coming weeks and months. Please share your feedback on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/ and follow our website at TakeBack.org.