In 2010, Wealth Didn’t Necessarily Correspond to Success for Lobbyists

In honor of year’s end, TheHill.com has produced a list of “the top ten lobbying victories of 2010.” My initial interest is in the fact that this is actually a list of the top ten lobbying coaliions of the past year, as several of the ranks have tied values. This makes the title of the list seem slightly more acute than might seem: what we’re looking at here is the top ten lobbying victories, not the top ten organizational efforts.

I checked OpenSecrets.org and graphed the 2009-2010 donation totals of TheHill’s list-makers. What’s interesting is that two of the organizations that make their top-ten list were political action committees (524s), which means their self-supporting fundraising was miniscule. One of them, the Taxpayer’s Committee For Common Sense, didn’t even bother to file returns for 2009. Clearly, wealth is only part of the story – yet this fact is belied by the Chamber of Commerce, both one of the tied first-pace stories and clearly one of the wealthiest non-profits in DC.

Without the Chamber of Commerce we lose any statistical correlation between wealth and position on TheHill.com’s list, and even if we include it, the correlation coefficient is miniscule. Merry Christmas, everyone – wealth is not the necessary determinant of legislative success!

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