Lobbying Behind the Auto Industry essay

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" (Tripathi, Ansolabehere, and Snyder, 2002)

Additionally, groups that place emphasis on lobbying tend to may more attention to the position of power that members hold inside Congress and pay less attention to the electoral circumstances of member than do other groups and as well groups that place emphasis on lobbying "also appear to be more bipartisan and less ideological than other groups, giving more equally to both parties and more broadly across the ideological spectrum." (Tripathi, Ansolabehere, and Snyder, 2002)

It was reported on December 11th 2008 in the work entitled: "Auto Industry Bailout: House Members Voting 'Yes' Received 65% More from Auto Industry Interest Groups than those Voting 'No'" that research had revealed that "over the past five years (January 2003-October 2008) auto manufacturers, auto dealers and labor unions gave an average of $74,100 in campaign contributions to each Representative voting in favor of the auto bailout, compared with an average of $45, 015 to each Representative voting against the bailout -- 65% more money, on average, given to those who voted Yes." (MapLight, 2008)

This analysis is state to have been inclusive of contributions provided by auto manufacturers and dealers, auto-related industries and labor unions, all groups that have expressed their support for this bill passing.

The executive director of MapLight, Daniel Newman, is noted as having stated "Big-money interest groups investing in political influence see sky-high returns while 'we the people' foot the bill. Votes in Congress once again align with the river of money that flows through our broken political system." (MapLight, 2008)

It is related that House Democrats "voting overwhelming in favor of this bill, 205 voting 'Yes' and 20 voting 'No'" while 11 did not vote. According to MapLight's report the Democrats that voted 'Yes' were on the receiving end of $74,846 each and this is approximately 19% more than those who voted 'No' had received which was stated an approximately $63,140. MapLight additionally reports that House Republicans were "more divided on this bill, 32 voting Yes and 150 voting No (16 not voting)." (2008) Republicans voting Yes are reported to have received approximately $69,323 each which is approximately 63% more received than those who voted No and who received approximately $42,598 each.

Figure 1

Average $ Give to Each Legislator and How Votes Total

House Members (All)

voted Yes


voted No


House Democrats

voted Yes


voted No


House Republicans

voted Yes


voted No


Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 2

Average $ Give to Each Member

Voting Yes

Voting No

All interests in support



Labor unions



Auto dealers



Auto manufacturers



Truck/auto parts



Manufacturing trade groups

Source: MapLight (2008)

Over the past two years the largest three auto firms are stated to have spent $48,338,099 on lobbying according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Figure 3

Money Spent on Lobbying

Lobbying $

General Motors






Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 4

Top Ten Recipients Funded by Manufacturing Unions



John Kerry


Nancy Pelosi


Christopher Van Hollen


Ciro Rodriguez


Steny Hoyer


Baron Hill


John Barrow


R. Miller


Thomas Edwards


Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 5

Top Ten Recipients Funded by Auto Manufacturers



John Dingell


Carl Levin


Debbie Ann Stabenow


Frederick Upton


John McCain


Michael Rogers


Sander Levin


Carolyn Kilpatrick


David Camp


John Kerry


Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 6

Top Ten Recipients Funded by Truck/Automotive Parts and Accessories



John McCain


Bob Corker


George Voinovich


John Dingell


Christopher Bond


Debbie Ann Stabenow


Mike Pence


Frank Pallone


Michael Turner


Lamar Alexander


Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 7

Top Ten Recipients Funded by Auto Dealers (New & Used)



John McCain


Vern Buchanan


Mel Martinez


John Cornyn


John Kerry


Bob Corker


Jon Kyl


John Thune


Eric Cantor


Kay Hutchison


Source: MapLight (2008)

Figure 8

Top Ten Recipients Funded -- Fiscal and Tax Policy



Michele Bachmann


Erik Paulsen


John Kerry


John Ensign


John Kline


Jon Kyl


Mike Pence


Adam Smith


Saxby Chambliss


Bob Corker


Source: MapLight (2008)

The work of Kenneth M. Goldstein entitled: "Interest Groups, Lobbying and Participation in America" (1999) relates that legislation was introduced in 1982 by Senator Bob Dole and Representative Dan Rostenkowski for withholding taxes on interest from bank accounts and dividends from securities however those who support this bill stated that the majority of other types of income were subject to withholding already and that the effect of this specific legislation would be to place a major tax loophole and "tap a notorious source of unreported income." (Goldstein, 1999)

This bill was passed easily in the Senate, which was Republican-controlled and the House which was controlled by Democrats and was to take place within a year's time. However, the banking industry fearing the cost of enforcing this particular law is stated to have "dropped the hydrogen bomb of modern day lobbying, an effort whose firepower was awesome, whose carnage was staggering. In one fell swoop down went the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, down went the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, down went the Secretary of the Treasury, down went the present of the United States. Led by the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the U.S. League of Savings, the banking industry used newspaper advertisements, posters in branches, and most importantly, inserts in the monthly statements typically sent to all customers to encourage people to contact Congress in opposition to the new law. The effort, orchestrated by the Chicago advertising and public relations firm of Leo Burnett and Company, deluged Congress with more than twenty-two million constituent communications. Weeks later the House (382 to 41) and the Senate (94 to 5) reversed themselves and overwhelming repealed the withholding on interest and dividend income earned by individuals." (Goldstein, 1999)

This case is stated to illustrate how it is that "grass roots lobbying can be an effective tool for lobbyist to convey information." (Goldstein, 1999) Moreover, this case illustrates how legislators are signaled on the "electoral consequences of their actions and provides information to constituents that may reframe and issue and possibly change a mass opinion." (Goldstein, 1999)

The work entitled: "Biggest PAC Contributors Boost Spending" (2009) states that the "...corporations, unions and trade associations that represented the top 20 PAC contributors to federal candidates from both major parties last year poured a combined $22 million into lobbying efforts from January through March -- an increase of nearly 20% over the same period in 2008." (National Journal, 2009)

It is related that high-stakes legislation with the intent to "calm the roiling American economy and a proposed change to labor laws prompted the nation's most generous political contributors to redouble efforts to lobby the lawmakers whose elections they helped to finance" according to a CongressDaily analysis of the lobbying disclosure filings of the first quarter of 2009. This information is shown in the following chart.

Figure 9

Change in First Quarter Lobbying by the Top 20 PACS

Source: National Journal (2009)

It is related that the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the top 20 PAC donors to the House and Senate candidates in 2007 and 2008 is inclusive of the National Association of Realtors, Honeywell International, the Service Employees International Union and the National Beer Wholesales Association. The Realtor's PAC is stated to have been the "biggest donor to federal candidates in the last cycle" and that they spent approximately $5.7 million in efforts of lobbying during the first three months of 2009. That amount is stated to be an increase of 82% over the amount spent in the same period of last year.


It is clear that the auto industry and associated industries contributed greatly through their PACs in the form of political contributions in order to influence the Congress, Senate and House in passing of HR7231. Lobbying and associated PAC activities are legal however, it appears that reform in Washington is greatly needed in this area as demonstrated by the amount of contributions and those who were on the receiving end of these large contributions. How one views lobbying efforts and activities is greatly dependent upon the view one holds of the American political system in its entirety. While pluralist theory views democracy and its preservation in a massive society of a complex nature as acceptable since memberships tend to overlap in what is a diverse collection of interest groups and the result is healthy competition other views view the American political system in a different light and this is…[continue]

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