Lobbyists made a record-breaking $2.79 billion on Capitol Hill last year, beating 2006’s record by $200 million. The healthcare industry led the way, spending $227 million on attempts to influence legislators, up 25% from the year previous. The insurance and real-estate sectors were right behind, Reuters reports. The biggest single spender was the Chamber of Commerce, followed by General Electric.
Computer and Internet companies also made a strong showing, at $111 million. The securities industry bested its 2006 outlay by 40%, finishing at $87 million spent persuading lawmakers. "Lobbying seems to be a recession-proof industry," said a representative of the watchdog group that tallied the spending. "In some respects, interests seek even more from our government when the economy slows.”