Other Tools for Finding Lobbyists
The Senate Office of Public Records (sopr.senate.gov) maintains a Web site that includes images of disclosure forms filed pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) since 1998. The Web site’s value falls vastly short of its potential because it fails to offer users any way to make calculations on the information disclosed in the LDA forms and it does not permit searching by bill numbers or specific issues lobbied on. For Public Citizen’s tips on using the SOPR Web site, including its limitations, click here.
The Center for Public Integrity (www.publici.org/lobby) created a version of the database maintained by the Senate Office of Public Records – despite the office’s refusal to share its data – by using software that automatically queried SOPR’s online search engine and recorded the results. CPI’s database, which is free to use, provides aggregate totals of corporate and industry expenditures and lobbying firms’ revenues. It also tabulates the firms for which lobbyists have worked, the issues on which they have lobbied, and the agencies they have contacted.
Influence (www.influence.biz) is a Web site and trade publication covering the lobbying industry. It includes a search engine that allows users to query by firms, clients and lobbyists. The database includes a comprehensive list of clients for which lobbying firms have worked and includes career histories on many of the lobbyists. The Web service is available with a subscription to the publication, which costs $599 a year.
Political Money Line (www.politicalmoneyline.com) is a hybrid of free and subscription services that keeps tabs on lobbying expenditures by organizations and industries, lobbying revenues by firms and new lobbying registrations. The Web site offers limited information at no charge, such as expenditures and revenues among top industries and the biggest spending firms for the most recent period. But historical data and detailed firm-by-firm data requires a subscription to the group’s FECInfoPro service, which costs $2,625 a year.