Jason Trennert attributes this to growing recognition of the return-on-investment in lobbying among companies that aren’t in the three industries that typically compose the bulk of the list – namely, defense, finance or pharmaceuticals, which are all “heavily regulated industries”:
“I think it speaks to the fact that government is a much bigger part of the economy,” Trennert points out, adding that many companies now actually view their lobbying expenditures along the same lines as R&D (research and development) or equipment spending.
Along the same lines, infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff calls lobbyist
No one would seriously propose visiting a judge before a trial and offering a financial gratuity, or choice tickets to an athletic event, in exchange for special consideration from the bench. Yet no inside-the-Beltway hackles are raised when a legislative jurist — also known as a congressman — receives a campaign contribution even as he contemplates action on an issue of vital importance to the donor.
During the years I was lobbying, I purveyed millions of my own and clients’ dollars to congressmen, especially at such decisive moments. I never contemplated that these payments were really just bribes, but they were. Like most dissembling Washington hacks, I viewed these payments as legitimate political contributions, expressions of my admiration of and fealty to the venerable statesman I needed to influence.
Via Andrew Sullivan.