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K-Street vs. Super PACs? Lobbying Expenditures Slump in 2011

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The nation's economy may be slowly rebounding, but during 2011, the economic engine of K Street sputtered. Overall expenditures on lobbying were down for the first time in more than a decade, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. More than $3.27 billion was spent on lobbying in 2011, according to the Center's preliminary analysis of lobbying reports filed with Congress last week. (An estimated 90 percent of the reports due had been filed by the deadline Friday, so this figure is likely to increase slightly as the remaining fourth-quarter reports are processed.) Notably, 2011 ranked as the first year since 1999 that lobbying expenditures have dropped, according to the Center's research. During 2010, when health care and stepped-up regulation of the financial sector were the subjects of fierce struggles on Capitol Hill, outlays for lobbying totaled $3.51 billion.

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