There's at least one part of the US Chamber of Commerce that is not shrinking: its lobbying spending.
The Chamber's third-quarter lobbying expenditures, released today, tally to a jaw-dropping $34.7 million.
That record-breaking amount translates into more than $300,000 in lobbying per day. Or, as Politico notes, more than the sum of the next 18-highest filers so far, including UPS, General Dynamics, Koch Industries, and Microsoft, which together spent less than $14 million.
This quarter's Chamber filing is notable only in trumping previous ones; the group has consistently led Washington in lobbying expenditures in recent years. Roll Call reports that the Chamber is weighing in on appropriations bills, economic stimulus and trade legislation, health care reform, weapons acquisition reform, energy and climate change, union organizing, and transportation issues.
Working from within the Chamber allows companies to influence legislation anonymously, avoiding the negative publicity associated with controversial policy positions.
Some of the Chamber's lobbying interests are more obscure than others. According to Roll Call, one lobby report lists a proposal "to amend title 18 United States Code, to include constrictor snakes of the Python genera as an injurius animal."
Too bad that a recent government report found that giant pythons, boas, and anacondas may wreak havoc on South Texas and Florida--a trend that can only be exacerbated by global warming. Maybe if melting ice caps can't get the Chamber on board for a climate bill, the prospect of being eaten by giant reptiles on the next trip to Disney World will.