Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Public Life Advocate: The Tracker (May 2006)

* Corporatization refers to the homogenization resulting from large private interests (corporations) consuming and/or replacing smaller private and public interests (small businesses and governmental functions).

* Corporations have marketed themselves and their interests robustly over time. The total number of registered clients lobbying the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in 2000 was just over 14,000. In 2004 the number was over 20,000.

* In 1998, the total lobbying expenditure at the federal level was $1.43 billion. In 2004, the total was $2.16 billion.

* In 1990, General Dynamics (a major defense contractor) made nearly $400,000 in federal campaign contributions (59% to Democrats, 41% to Republicans). In 2004 the total was nearly $1.5 million (43% to Democrats, 57% to Republicans).

* The largest commercial bank in the United States, Citigroup, maintains connections through its board of directors with 25 corporations. The 153 boards of directors representing these corporations also serve with an additional 214 corporations.

* Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc, the top U.S. lobbying firm from 1998-2004, has represented over 250 states, companies, and organizations ranging from the Commonwealth of Kentucky to Wheelchairs for the World Foundation.

* From Kentucky, Brown & Williamson Tobacco spent the most money, over $35 million, in federal lobbying between 1998-2004. The eighth largest federal lobbying effort from Kentucky during the same period was from Western Kentucky University, with just under $1 million.

* In the 2003-2004 election cycle, Owensboro ($405,000) ranked fourth behind Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky in Kentucky metropolitan area donations to federal candidates, political action committees, and political parties.

* More than half of the 170 psychiatric experts who contributed to latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that make the medications to treat the illnesses the DSM defines.