Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Immigration gridlock is a boon for lobbyists

One industry is profiting handsomely from the political gridlock in Washington over illegal immigration. In the past three years, lobbyists on K Street have raked in more than $8 million from companies and trade organizations seeking to press their agenda on immigration to members of Congress.

The number of firms seeking help from lobbyists, mostly former Capitol Hill and White House insiders, nearly doubled in that period. Spending soared to $2.5 million for the first six months of 2007 alone. Immigration has proved to be a big moneymaker for lobbyists,' said Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Industries hire professional influence-peddlers when Congress turns its attention to policies that impact companies' bottom lines. Industries hiring lobbyists on various immigration provisions include the expected agricultural, construction and restaurant-industry leaders, but also include labor unions, fashion models and even the National Hockey League.

According to lobbying records compiled by Congressional Quarterly, 57 companies and trade organizations hired outside lobbyists to work primarily on immigration issues in 2006 - up from 38 in 2005 and just 16 in 2004.

So far, however, the millions of dollars spent by corporate America on immigration has yielded few results. The most recent amnesty proposal went down in flames earlier this year after opponents bombarded members of Congress with faxes, e-mails and phone calls.

'Inaction,' Ritsch said, 'can be very lucrative.'

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil. Thank you.