Toyota Armed With Lobbyists for DC Showdown
40% of panel members have taken money from company
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 4:39 AM CST
Photographers and cameramen surround a recalled Prius as a technician fixes the program of the antilock brake system at a dealership of Toyota Motor Corp.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

(Newser) – Toyota won't be alone as it testifies before Congress: The automaker brings with it an army of lobbyists and the potential goodwill generated by years of targeted political giving. The 32 lobbyists already working on the company's behalf will be joined by experts from two recently hired lobbying firms. They'll be trying to grab the ears of the 125 members of Congress serving on the three committees investigating Toyota—40% of whom have received campaign donations from the company in the past decade.

Those Congressmen have raked in $135,673 from Toyota employees and the dealers' PAC and another $1 million through donations made through state parties and PACs, notes the Washington Post; none have offered to recuse themselves. In addition to the lobbying effort, which cost $5 million last year, Toyota has leveraged its own dealers and workers, turning them into grass-roots lobbyists who are calling and visiting congressional district offices. "It's realistic to assume that to help us educate all those important audiences, we would need expert counsel and extra arms and legs," says a rep.

 

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